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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 29

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, April 28, 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

 

 

EU calls on Iraq to protect exiled Iranian group
Agence France Presse

April 24, 2009
STRASBOURG (AFP) — The European Parliament on Friday called on Iraq to respect the "protected persons" status of an exiled Iranian opposition group and withdraw a threat to close their camp north of Baghdad.

The parliamentary text, adopted during a plenary session in Strasbourg, called on the Iraqi prime minister "to ensure that no action is taken by the Iraqi authorities which violates the human rights of the Camp Ashraf residents and to clarify the government's intentions towards them."...

The EU parliament said that those in the camp who left Iran for political reasons "could be at risk of serious human rights violations if they were to be returned involuntarily to Iran."

The MEPs said that "no person should be returned, either directly or via a third country, to a situation where they would be at risk of torture or other serious human rights abuses."

They called on the Iraqi government to respect the legal status of the residents as "protected persons" under the Geneva Conventions and to refrain from any action that would endanger their life or security.

The resolution also called on the European Union, together with the Iraqi and US governments, the United Nations and the Red Cross "to work towards finding a satisfactory long-term legal status for Camp Ashraf residents."...  Read More

 

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Amnesty International expresses concern regarding Camp Ashraf residents
NCRI Website

April 21, 2009
“Amnesty International has written directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about recent developments relating to the more than 3,000 Iranian exiles currently living in Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, who Iraqi officials have said should leave the country. The Iranians are members or supporters of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI [MEK]).”


The statement by Amnesty International continued: "In particular, Amnesty International expressed concern at a recent statement reportedly made in an interview with al-Forat, an Iraqi TV channel, by National Security Advisor Dr Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, in which he said that the authorities intend gradually to make the continued presence of the Camp Ashraf residents "intolerable". Shortly after this, possibly in a related development, a team of medical doctors were denied access to the Camp for several days. One purpose of their visit was reportedly to provide treatment to a woman in the Camp in need of surgery for an internal cancerous tumour. The doctors were later allowed into the camp."

"In its letter, Amnesty International urged the Iraqi Prime Minister to ensure that no action is taken by the Iraqi authorities that violates the human rights of the Camp Ashraf residents and to clarify the government's intentions towards them in the light of Dr al-Rubaie's reported threat to make their lives "intolerable." Amnesty International has previously called on the Iraqi government to ensure that none of the Camp Ashraf residents or other Iranian dissidents are forcibly returned to Iran in view of fears that they would be at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations there," the statement said... Read More

 

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Dissident city in Iraq in danger
United Press International

April 21, 2009
BERLIN, April 21 (UPI) -- A group of German lawmakers has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq if Baghdad closes down a camp where some 3,500 Iranian dissidents have been living for the past two decades.

"We are very concerned about the situation of the people in Ashraf," Hermann-Josef Scharf, a lawmaker from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said Monday in Berlin. "What currently happens there is a precursor to a humanitarian catastrophe" aimed at "destroying the Iranian opposition."...

Amnesty International said Monday it had written to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, urging him to clarify the government's plans regarding Ashraf and ensure the human rights of its residents.

Baghdad recently announced that it wants to close the camp and expel its residents to Iran or a third country. If forced to return to Iran, the PMOI members would face abuse, imprisonment and death sentences.

But while the people in Ashraf want to stay where they are, the Iranian opposition says Iraqi authorities are making life nearly intolerable.

Access to the camp has been restricted, with fuel, food and medicine getting in with significant delays, a Dutch lawmaker warned last week.

German lawmakers and human rights experts have in the past weeks tried to travel there but were denied visas.

"They are letting no one in recently, and that worries me," said Christian Zimmermann, a Berlin-based human rights activist...

"The fact that they are sealing off Ashraf even to us parliamentarians means that not Ashraf has something to hide, but probably the Iraqis," said Anette Huebinger, another lawmaker of Merkel's conservatives.

Huebinger and Scharf are among a group of seven German lawmakers who have signed a petition urging Berlin to engage in diplomacy with Baghdad to make sure that the residents of Ashraf are protected.

They also said they would like to see the U.S. military retake control of the camp, but Washington is likely to keep out as long as possible... Read More

 

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Prominent Iraqi politician: Siege of Camp Ashraf is inhumane
NCRI Website

April  18, 2009
NCRI – Dr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, the head of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, and a member of Iraqi parliament, called on Iraqi government to end weeks of repressive measures against Camp Ashraf, where some 3,500 members of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) are based, the Italian news agency AKI reported on Friday.

Al-Mutlaq described the siege of Camp Ashraf as an act that is “inhumane and does not proportionate with the morals and values of Iraqi society, which honors its guests. “ “They are guests of the Iraqis before they are viewed as refugees", he added.

The leader of the National Dialogue Front continued: " we hope that the government end this human catastrophe, as we hope that all international civil society organizations to move quickly to end the siege." "We are very dismayed at what is happening there every day at Camp Ashraf, and we add our voices to all the voices calling for a halt on the repressive measures imposed on it.”... Read More

 

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The Iraqi Committee in Defense of Ashraf calls for ending the siege on Ashraf
NCRI Website

April 19, 2009
NCRI- The Iraqi Committee in Defense of Ashraf has issued a statement calling for the lifting of the siege on Ashraf. The committee is made up of Iraqi political figures, lawmakers, tribal leaders, and academics...

The statement reads in part: “About a month ago, the unjust siege and restrictions against Ashraf residents were imposed. These all take place in violation of Iraq’s international obligations, humanitarian principles, and the Iraqi people’s tradition of generosity and hospitality which are among the most cherished values in the Arab and Islamic culture.

“For the past three months, various foreign delegations, including close to 50 parliamentarians and foreign personalities from 11 European countries and the US, have been barred from visiting Ashraf, and are still awaiting agreements to travel to Iraq. The residents’ Iraqi lawyers and international jurists have so far been prevented from visiting Iraq, and journalists who come to Ashraf have on some occasions been arrested.

“These measures serve an extensive propaganda campaign against Ashraf residents meant to prepare the groundwork for their suppression. There is no doubt about the Iranian regime’s direct involvement in carrying out this campaign.

“The Iraqi Committee in Defence of Ashraf condemns the siege on Ashraf residents, and urges all international authorities and the US embassy, which has transferred the protection of Ashraf to Iraqi forces after receiving specific assurances, to adopt immediate measures to lift the illegal siege, end the inhuman pressures, and prevent the Iranian regime from meddling in this sensitive and humanitarian case.”... Read More

 

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Global demonstrations in support of Camp Ashraf residents enter sixth week
NCRI Website

April 23, 2009
NCRI - Exiled Iranians and families of Camp Ashraf residents, where members of the main Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), currently reside, continued their worldwide demonstrations in protest to a siege on the camp by Iraqi forces. Protests in Paris, London, and Washington have entered their sixth straight week.

Demonstrators at Tuesday’s gathering in Paris held across from the Iraqi embassy condemned the surrounding of Ashraf City, which was carried out at the behest of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and demanded the lifting of restrictions against Ashraf City.

A French participant addressed the rally: “I had the pleasure of visiting Ashraf. We have gathered here to support Ashraf residents. We will continue our protests until the siege on Ashraf is lifted and residents’ rights are acknowledged.”

Yazdan Haj-Hamzeh, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) described Ashraf as a “link between the Iranian nation and freedom-loving people around the world.”

Asghar Adibi, a former Iranian national soccer player and an NCRI member, described as “spectacular” the support voiced by Iran’s younger generation for the Iranian Resistance and the PMOI, as seen on a live television broadcast on the opposition satellite channel, IRANNTV, and added, “The resistance of Ashraf residents has forced the regime to fail miserably.”...

Iranians also held a demonstration across from the Iraqi embassy in London. Expressing support for Ashraf, Ms. Margaret Owen, chair of Widows for Peace through Democracy, said at the gathering that Ashraf has become the symbol of human perseverance against oppression, and is an icon for human rights and freedom in the world. Ashraf residents are symbols of humanity and sense of resolve, she said...

In Washington, protestors once again gathered in front of the Iraqi embassy, detesting the Iranian regime’s plots as well as those who do its bidding. They chanted slogans and marched on the street, demanding an end to the siege on Ashraf and the restrictions imposed at the demand of the religious fascism ruling Iran. The demonstrators stressed that they will continue their protest until their demands are met.

Also in Washington, freedom-loving Iranians and relatives of Ashraf residents gathered in front of the White House, and called upon the US government to fulfill its humanitarian obligations and ensure the rights of Ashraf residents in the face of plots carried out by the Iranian regime and its agents. They noted that the siege on Ashraf and the restrictions imposed against it violate International Humanitarian Law. They added that this case represents America’s first test in its search for peace and democracy in the Middle East... 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

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, # 195, Washington, DC 20006-1811

Web: www.USCCAR.org
E-Mail: info@USCCAR.org
Phone: 202-640-1947