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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 26

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

 

 


"Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.”

Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

 

“In no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.”

Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

 

 

Displacement of Camp Ashraf residents is unlawful, constitutes crime against humanity
NCRI Press Release

March 28, 2009
Displacement of Camp Ashraf residents is absolutely unlawful, constitutes crime against humanity, paves the way for a human catastrophe
NCRI - In an effort to appease the religious fascism ruling Iran, Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Advisor, repeated his unlawful claims against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) and the residents of Camp Ashraf. Speaking to reporters in a press conference in Baghdad on Friday, he said that he planned to send the residents of Ashraf to remote areas. The press conference was held while the Speaker of the Iranian regime’s Majlis (Parliament), Ali Larijani, is on a visit to Iraq.

Al-Rubaie’s assertion that the residents of Ashraf are to be transferred to a different place is absolutely unlawful and lays the groundwork for a human catastrophe in Ashraf. The residents of Ashraf will never leave their home and the city they have lived in for the past 23 years and have built everything there by themselves.

Contrary to al-Rubaie’s remarks, the PMOI’s presence in Iraq is lawful. They are political refugees and are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Their forcible expulsion from Iraq or forcible displacement within Iraq violates the recognized international principles including the International Humanitarian Law and constitutes a crime against humanity. According to the Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court forcible displacement of a population is a clear case of crime against humanity.

Al-Rubaie’s remarks against the PMOI and the residents of Ashraf in recent weeks are entirely dictated by the religious dictatorship in Iran. On February 28, 2009, in his meeting with the President of the Republic of Iraq, using a condescending tone, Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime, said, “…It is expected that you and the Iraqi Prime Minister Mr. al-Maliki seriously pursue the bilateral agreements and understandings ... The bilateral agreement on the expulsion of the PMOI from Iraq must be implemented and we are awaiting this"...  Read More

 

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Iran Opposition In Iraq Threatened

CBS News - World Watch
March 30, 2009

When the world wanted to know about Iran’s nuclear program, the PMOI were not regarded as terrorists – they were welcomed. Now, it seems they may have been abandoned to their fate.

(CBS) - If you could travel freely in Iraq, you would be able to visit a place called Camp Ashraf. But the road north that would take you there is still too dangerous to travel – not because of roadside bombs or terrorist attacks, but because the Iraqi government doesn’t want you to go there.

Iraqi journalists say that trying to go to Ashraf is a death sentence – “do not expect to come back,” they say.

The reason is simple: Camp Ashraf is the target of those in Iraq's government who are most friendly with the regime in Iran, and Iran wants the camp and its inhabitants shut down forever.

To outsiders it is the strangest thing: some 3,500 Iranians living in Iraq. But they’ve been there for more than two decades, supplying information to Iran’s enemies in their efforts to overthrow the Iranian regime.

When Ashraf was under U.S. military control, Iran couldn’t touch it. But since the Iraqis took over in January, they’ve been systematically pressuring the Iraqi government to take action. Now it’s been cordoned off for the past 20 days by Iraqi forces, gradually cutting them off from the outside world.

Why should the U.S. care?

Ashraf is home to Iranian opposition members from the PMOI – or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. These people are the reason Iran’s nuclear program was exposed – it was their intelligence that brought it to the world's attention.

But in Iran’s eyes, they are a terrorist organization. The current Iraqi government agrees and the group is still on the U.S. blacklist, although it has been taken off the list of terrorist organizations by the EU.

Tehran wants their camp shut down, wanted members arrested and handed over for trial - and their organization destroyed.

But the U.S. has an obligation to the people of Ashraf. In July 2004, the United States Government recognized PMOI members as Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention, meaning that they should not be deported, expelled or repatriated, or displaced inside Iraq.

Now, as U.S. influence wanes in Iraq, Iran’s influence continues to strengthen and grow. Through Iran’s allies in the Iraqi government, a noose has been applied around Camp Ashraf and the people living there, and is slowly tightening.

So far that has meant stopping fuel supplies, cutting off logistic trucks – allowing only limited shipments of food to the camp. This month, when Iraqi forces occupied a building that had been housing Iranian women, there were clashes with the camp’s residents and several were beaten by Iraqi soldiers, until U.S. forces stepped in...

The situation has been escalating since control of the camp was handed over from the U.S. military to Iraqi authorities in January this year. Although the U.S. still maintains a small monitoring presence, it is now Iraqi soldiers who surround the camp and guard its gates. And that has made it more like a prison than their home.

Now the residents of Ashraf live in fear. Their greatest enemy – the Iranian regime – has never been more powerful inside Iraq. The supreme leader Ali Khameni, when he visited Iraq in February, made it clear he expects Iraq to close the camp. Iran also wants a list of wanted PMOI members to be handed over for trial...

Other comments by Iraq’s National Security Advisor are somewhat more revealing – and disturbing.

“These individuals have been brainwashed, and we must liberate them from this poison," Rubaie said. "When we carry out a process of detoxification, if this assumption is correct, this act will at first be painful. There is no alternative than to begin this painful act."...

But when the world wanted to know about Iran’s nuclear program, the PMOI were not regarded as terrorists – they were welcomed.

Now, it seems they may have been abandoned to their fate.... Read More

 

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Mr. National Security Advisor, you are in a glass house; So stop throwing stones at others
Al-Malaf website

March 22, 2009
According to an Arab idiom, ‘There are those who put their baggage on your back to carry for them and then leave.’ There is another expression which says, ‘There are those guilty individuals who try to blame others to cover up their own wrongdoings.”

Today, the National Security Advisor [Muwaffaq al-Rubaie] said in a clear lie that he holds documents showing Iraqi politicians have received money from the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). In response, one may ask: Then why have you waited all this time to reveal it? Obviously, he would not be prepared to admit that he did not have these so-called documents before, but rather obtained them during his recent visit to Tehran, before the cruel and inhumane assault on Ashraf [the residence of the PMOI in Iraq].

He speaks of these documents at the same time as this foolish and inhuman attack aimed to force Ashraf resident out of Iraq, in compliance with the orders of Tehran’s turbaned rulers. The delay in his announcement is due to the fact that the “documents” were being drafted and fabricated in Tehran.

We would like to tell al-Rubaie that defiant Iraqis are like a thorn in his eyes. With such statements, he has solely targeted Iraq’s patriotic politicians, and needless to say, these fake documents and propaganda will not harm them. All Iraqis know that the intention of such provocative remarks and political blackmail is to shut people up, chain their hands, and prevent the people’s protest against the inhumane measures adopted with respect to Ashraf. Therefore, we are not too concerned about either threatening or hailing politicians... Read More

 

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Iranian opposition calls for Arab support
United Press International

March 30, 2009
PARIS, March 30 (UPI) -- The head of a Paris-based Iranian opposition group called on leaders at the Arab summit in Qatar to issue a statement in support of dissidents living in Iraq.

 

Maryam Rajavi, the head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, issued a letter to Arab leaders calling for support of the People's Mujahedin of Iran, an opposition group residing in their Camp Ashraf enclave in Iraq's Diyala province.

The PMOI is considered a terrorist organization for its past violent opposition to the clerical regime in Iran. The NCRI, an umbrella group affiliated with the PMOI that calls itself the Iranian Parliament in exile, said it seeks democratic regime change in Iran.

Rajavi urged support from the Arab leaders, saying Tehran was looking to "annihilate" the PMOI at Camp Ashraf in order to curb the opposition movement and secure Iranian influence in neighboring Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said the PMOI should leave Iraq voluntarily but also opened the door to relocating the group to the deserts in western Anbar province, al-Sumaria reports.

"There is no final decision on their move, but their days in Iraq are numbered," he said... Read More

 

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Saleh Mutlak says the organization is a victim
Sawa Radio

March 28, 2009
Iraq intends to resettle PMOI to remote regions

The Iraqi national security advisor, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, has announced that Iraqi authorities plan to resettle Iranian opposition dissidents, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), from Camp Ashraf in Diyala province to a remote area inside Iraq. At a news conference on Friday morning in Baghdad, al-Rubaie told reporters that the measure is intended to disconnect hundreds of the organization’s members from their militant leaders. Al-Rubaie added that Iraq has requested western countries to accept some of the members of this organization in Iraq, who number up to 3,418 people.

On the other hand, Saleh Mutlak, leader of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, described the PMOI as a victim. In a telephone interview with Sawa Radio, he said: The PMOI has today become a victim of the Iraqi government and the Iranian regime, and perhaps the international community and specifically the US, which has classified the organization as a terrorist group, while several international courts have issued verdicts calling for the removal of the terror label against the PMOI.

Mutlak added that dealing with the dissident Iranian organization must not resemble treatment of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) for two reasons. First, the PKK is armed while the PMOI is not. Second, Mutlak added, Turkey is a friendly country and plays a positive role in Iraq, while Iran is a government which has played a negative role in Iraq for a long time, especially during and after the invasion of Iraq. The PMOI is unarmed... Read More

 

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Association of Iraqi Patriots condemn pressures on Ashraf
“Iraq for All” website
March 24, 2009

The Association of Iraqi Patriots sent a letter to General Raymond Odierno, Commander of US forces in Iraq, in which it condemned pressures dictated by the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader against Ashraf residents, and requested his immediate intervention to guarantee the protection of Ashraf.

The letter reads in part: Ali Khamenei, in his meeting with the Iraqi President, had said, “The occupiers (Americans) must leave Iraq as soon as possible. … The bilateral agreement with respect to the PMOI’s expulsion from Iraq … must be implemented, and we are awaiting its implementation.” Following these remarks and after the week-long visit by Rafsanjani, the chair of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, who demanded the expulsion of the PMOI and closure of Ashraf, Iraqi forces, on the personal orders of the National Security Advisor, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, have placed inhumane restrictions and initiated new compulsory measures against 3,500 Iranian opposition activists residing in Ashraf.

The Association of Iraqi Patriots requests that before this situation reaches a dangerous and uncontrollable point, you personally intervene and put a stop to this illegal trend against Iranian refugees who are considered protected persons under the Geneva Conventions... Read More

 

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About Humanitarian Crisis for Iranian Dissidents and their Families In Camp Ashraf

Nearly 3,500 members of Iran’s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK), residing in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, are faced with a humanitarian crisis. 

 

Tehran has put the Iraqi government under tremendous pressure to take over the protection of Camp Ashraf from the US-led Multinational Force-Iraq.  Under current circumstance in Iraq, such action would be in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law. Since 2004, Ashraf residents have been formally recognized as “Protected Persons“ under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 

Ashraf Residents are expatriates holding dual nationality or refugee status of various Western countries. Their families and relatives are greatly worried for their loved ones in Ashraf.

 

 

International Humanitarian Law Obligate U.S. to Provide Continued Protection for Camp Ashraf Residents in Iraq
On July 2, 2004, the  United States formally recognized members of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention. 

 

Both the U.S. and Iraq are parties to all four 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifies that:

“Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs […]”.

Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifies that:

“In no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.“

 

Under the present circumstances in Iraq, the U.S. is the only party qualified and capable of ensuring Camp Ashraf residents’ safety and security under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The U.S. forces must continue to protect Ashraf residents as long as US forces are in Iraq.
 

 

About the U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents:

The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) was established in December of 2003 by families and relatives of residents of Camp Ashraf. The purpose of the Committee is to ensure the safety and security of those Iranians and others living in Camp Ashraf. The Committee will defend the proposition that the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as of other treaties and customary international law, must be applied to the Iranians in Iraq. For more information please visit: www.usccar.org

 

About Ashraf Monitor

Ashraf Monitor newsletter is a compilation of  news and commentaries about the developing humanitarian crisis for nearly 3,500 members of Iran's main opposition, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.  Ashraf Monitor is compiled and distributed by the US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR).

 


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U.S. COMMITTEE FOR CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS

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Web: www.USCCAR.org
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Phone: 202-640-1947