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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 30

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Thursday, May 14, 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

 

 

Iraqi Vice-President: Iraq must guarantee security of PMOI members
NCRI Website

May 14, 2009
NCRI – Dr. Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraqi Vice-President said in an interview with the Arabic language daily Al-Ittihad on Tuesday, May 12, that “Iraq must guarantee security and safety of ‘members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) residing in Camp Asharf’ in the context of Fourth Geneva Convention.”  The English translation of excerpts of the interview follows:

Q: The issue of the PMOI has evolved to a subject of political dispute among some political parties. In your opinion, how this issue should be dealt with and put an end to it?

Iraqi Vice- President: Iraq is not a party in the dispute over this file. Iraq has enough problems and pains of its own. I believe what we need most is an international decision to remove this difficulty from Iraq and to bring this ongoing dispute to an end. However, until then, Iraq must guarantee security and safety of the PMOI individuals in the context of the Fourth Geneva Convention, because we are a civilized country committed to the International Law.

On April 7, Dr. Tariq al-Hashemi said in another interview with the Arabic Language Al-Salam TV that presence of the PMOI in Iraq “is within the framework of the international treaties.”

According to the text of the interview published on www.alhashemi.org website, the Iraqi Vice-president, in a reference to some 3,500 members of PMOI residing in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, said, “we hear of their transfer to desert areas” or their “persecution,” “Such talks are not in the interest of Iraq and damage its reputation.”...  Read More

 

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Prominent Iraqi politician criticizes approach toward PMOI in Iraq
NCRI Website

May 4, 2009
NCRI - In an interview with al-Babelyia TV, on Friday May 1, 2009, Dr. Saleh Mutlaq, Chairman of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, criticized a blockade by Iraqi forces on Ashraf City (Camp Ashraf), where nearly 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), currently reside.

Dr. Saleh Mutlaq, Chairman of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front said: “There is still a lot of debate regarding the PMOI. There are some who say we have the wrong position toward them, but instead we believe that they are mistaken. We think that the issue should be approached with a mindset of trying to serve Iraq’s interests and not appeasing Iran. In our view, Iran has in many cases intervened in Iraq. According to Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Iran has violated Iraqi borders, air space, and waters, violating ownership of neighboring oil wells, shooting at Iraqi workers who worked on oil patches in Iraqi territory. Iran is funding terrorist and criminal gangs in Iraq and smuggles deadly weapons into the country.

“Now, we are talking about an organization [the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)], which has been disarmed in practice and which opposes the Iranian regime. Regardless of who they oppose, since they have been disarmed and have nothing at their disposal even to defend themselves, our siege on this organization greatly harms our humanitarian values, not to mention our Iraqi and Arab traditions. Placing a blockade on them is not condoned by Iraq’s values. The source of these measures is outside Iraq, and crawled into Iraq after the invasion. No Iraqi would ever place a siege on their guests.”

Dr. Saleh Mutlak added: “The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is a peace-seeking organization and we must not put a siege on them. We should not be permitted to let go of this case. They were saying that this organization has explosives and supports al-Qaida, and there were many more allegations like this. At the time, we used to say, ‘brothers, please present your evidence and documents so that we could validate what you are saying. But, if there is no evidence, it is not right to accuse them as such.’

“According to my information, a committee made up of members from the Interior Ministry and other ministries, was recently set up under the monitoring and with the knowledge of the US. It investigated every inch of Camp Ashraf. They did not find anything which could suggest that they have weapons or even light weaponry for individual self-defense. No weapons were found at the camp. No explosives, as it was alleged, were found in the camp. The US side verified this, and it was documented in the investigation report. So, what are those who used to claim that the PMOI has weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons, saying now? Today it has been proven that there is not even a single hand gun in Camp Ashraf. What are we saying to ourselves and our people now?”... Read More

 

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Iraqi parliamentary leaders urge government to implement EP resolution on Camp Ashraf
NCRI Website

May 12, 2009
NCRI - The chairman of the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, Sheikh Khalaf al-Alyan, and a leader of the National Iraqi Front, Usama Adbul Aziz al-Najafi, have urged the Iraqi government to implement the articles of a recent European Parliament resolution regarding Camp Ashraf, the Iraqi daily Azzaman reported on Sunday.

The two parliamentary leaders demanded the observance of the rights of Camp Ashraf residents in accordance with international laws. Camp Ashraf, located northeast of Baghdad, is home to nearly 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

According to the paper, Sheikh Khalaf al-Alyan said: The PMOI is a peace-seeking organization and the Iraqi government is obliged to fulfill international conventions and treaties, which guarantee the rights and protection of political refugees.

Azzaman also quoted Sheikh Khalaf al-Alyan as saying: International courts have in the past removed the PMOI from terror lists, because this organization is a national resistance and opposition movement. The EU has accepted these court rulings...

Usama Adbul Aziz al-Najafi, an MP and one of the leaders of the National Iraqi Front, said that in view of the EP resolution, sustaining the pressure on Ashraf residents would harm Iraq’s international credibility, especially since the EP resolution stresses the full rights of these refugees in Iraqi territory.

Talking with Azzaman, he stressed: The Iraqi government’s treatment of Ashraf residents, and the restrictions imposed on them with the aim of forcing them to leave their residence, is contrary to the Geneva Conventions.

The Iraqi MP urged the country’s government to revisit its position on Ashraf residents since they carry no weapons and since the Geneva Conventions must be implemented with respect to them... Read More

 

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No news on young man arrested for having family members in Ashraf City
NCRI Website

May 13, 2009
NCRI – Despite the passing of over 80 days since the arrest of Mr. Hamed Yazerlu, an aeronautics and space engineering student by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) agents in late February, there are still no reports about his condition.

On February 20, 2009 Yazerlu along with a number of members of families of Iranian opposition members who reside in Camp Ashraf (Ashraf City) in Iraq, was arrested.

Hamed’s brother, Hood was previously sentenced to three years of prison by the Iranian regime’s judiciary and is currently in ward 8 of Evin Prison.

Hamed Yazerlu was a student activist and although he was accepted in Amir Kabir University to get his PhD, he was banned two years in a row from continuing his studies.

In the past few months, the arrest of family members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has increased. The people, who are trialed on charges of having links to dissident groups, are people with family members in the PMOI... Read More

 

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Britons support PMOI in letter to Obama
United Press International

May 14, 2009
British lawmakers issued a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama calling for the removal of the People's Mujahedin of Iran from a terrorist list.

More than 180 members of the British Parliament joined a similar effort by European lawmakers proposing that the Obama administration shift its stance on Iranian opposition movements as part its new policy of engagement.

"Our experience has shown that the Iran crisis cannot be resolved without an Iranian solution and without relying on its main opposition movement," the letter said...

The PMOI and its affiliates in the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran have waged a successful delisting campaign in Britain and Europe, with similar efforts under way in the United States.

In the letter to Obama, lawmakers said they fear a "catastrophic humanitarian crisis" would result from Washington's refusal to delist the group, adding that Iran uses the listing as justification for threats against the PMOI.

"It is time for the U.S. administration to listen to this message, a message brought by you who have proved to be symbols of peace and democracy in today's world," Maryam Rajavi, NCRI president, said in a videotaped statement... Read More

 

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Washington: 100 days of demonstrations by Iranians in support of Camp Ashraf residents
NCRI Website

May 11, 2009
NCRI - On Friday, exiled Iranians marked their 100th day of demonstrations in support of Camp Ashraf residents in Iraq, where nearly 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), reside. They condemned the Iranian regime’s plots to impose more pressure on Ashraf residents and demanded their rights to be guaranteed in accordance with international conventions.

Iranian-American community representatives from 12 states traveled to Washington to declare their support for Ashraf residents. A number of the demonstrators have family members in Camp Ashraf.

Mr. Moslem Eskandar Filabi, Chair of the Sports Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged President Barack Obama to support the Iranian people against a regime which commits stoning and executions.

Mr. Mohammad Ghorbani, an Iranian national wrestling champion and former world champion, read a message from the association of athletes to demonstrators in their 100th day of protests in defense of Ashraf residents’ rights... 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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