August 18, 2017

US and UN have failed to honour promises to Camp Liberty residents, US General says

NCRI – An ‘unconscionable humanitarian crisis’ is unfolding in Camp Liberty despite American pledges, Iraqi promises and the international community’s obligation to protect its vulnerable unarmed residents, US General James Jones has told a conference at the Senate in Washington DC.

Every day that passes brought with it the threat of more rocket attacks and more deaths, the General said.

He said: “In Iraq, today, 3100 Iranian refugees continue to languish in deplorable conditions. They remain homeless, stripped of their rights, living in confinement under constant threat of attack and murder, and mainly because they hope for a better future for their native country next door.

“Despite America’s pledges, Iraq’s promises, and the international community’s obligation to protect this unarmed group of refugees, an unconscionable humanitarian crisis grinds on while the world responds with stunning indifference.”

Camp Liberty located near Baghdad Airport houses members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) that were forcibly evicted from their 26 years home in Camp Ashraf that they had built.

The refugees have always been ‘repeatedly subjected to psychological and physical harassment, violence, and the threat of violence’ both by Iraqi authorities and Iranian provocateurs, Gen Jones said.

And he described Camp Liberty – also called Hurriya – as ‘more of a prison than a camp’ worth than Guantanamo Bay prison, suggested it should be renamed Camp Shame.

He added: “The promise that the refugee’s relocation to Camp Hurriya would be followed by swift third-country resettlement has thus far proved to be another fiction.

“Since the transfer from Ashraf to Liberty, more people of perished than have been transferred abroad.

“Then just a few weeks ago Camp Hurriya – and remember we are talking about a refugee camp under the observation and auspices of the United Nations – was rocketed, resulting in the murder of six residents.

“In the four weeks since the attack, the Iraqi Government still has not returned the bodies of those killed in the most recent attack.

“Everyone agrees that the best course to resolve the humanitarian situation is rapid third-party resettlement of the refugees. Yet, the process remains glacially slow. At the current pace this process is projected to take three to 10 years to complete.

“It is the responsibility of all countries of good will to ensure that the victimization of the Ashraf refugees is not perpetuated and that this tragedy comes to a swift and just conclusion.”

And said the US must shoulder some of the blame for the plight of the refugees, adding: “It pains me to say to say that a significant part of the problem is that the United States has not provided the customary leadership we usually bring to humanitarian calamities of this type.

“We cannot rely on Baghdad and Tehran to do the right thing, and we cannot, unfortunately, rely on some in our own media to sound the alarm.

“Action begins by organizing the international community to insist upon the proper treatment of the Ashraf and Hurriya refugees, including with a continuous monitoring and reporting presence.”