February 22, 2018

Camp Liberty: Is the United Nations blind?

Swiss daily Tribune de Genève

By: Ingrid Betancourt, Former Columbian senator

“Martin Kobler wouldn’t go to the camp and said there is no security”

When on February 9th dozens of rockets hit a prison near Baghdad which is ironically called Camp Liberty, around one hundred Iranian dissidents were wounded and a number of others killed. In addition to the bodies, the UN’s credibility must also be counted as among the victims of this attack.

The rockets not only pierced the trailers in which these Iranian dissidents have been forced to station in, but also shattered the myth that claimed the UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General in Iraq, Martin Kobler, is an efficient person. Following this horrific massacre, it has been ruthlessly clarified that there is no security in Liberty.

During the past three years I have followed up the fate of these Iranian dissidents. Around 3,000 Liberty residents are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization, Iran’s main opposition movement. They are a part of a coalition led by Mrs. Rajavi that defends the rights of Iranians to live under a secular and democratic government.

An insurgent group at Iran’s service assumed responsibility for this attack. However, this attack could not have taken place without Baghdad’s cooperation.

In the beginning of 2012 the dissidents were forced, under threats, to evacuate Ashraf, a modern city which they had built in the course of past 26 years, and relocated to Camp Liberty, a destroyed American base. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described this camp as a prison.

Kobler has given this inhumane relocation a judicial status by signing an agreement in the name of the UN. The given reason by Kobler was that this guarantees their security and the UN will assure that. This became a nefarious prank during the February 9th attack when Kobler wasn’t willing to go to the site, saying there is no security.

The dissidents had warned the camp lacks any of the necessary infrastructures. The problem is that the UN is suffering from blindness. The attack against an unarmed group which seeks political asylum is a clear sign of the mullahs’ hopelessness, resembling the final era of their rule. They fear the power of the unarmed PMOI members that have been placed in Camp Liberty because the PMOI is spread throughout Iran. Liberty has become a killing field. We cannot remain silent and witness the implementation of a plot of carnage the Iranian government has planned against these innocent people, in complicity with their Iraqi allies.

As the UN envoy, Kobler has betrayed the trust he was given and ashamed his mission. The time has come for the UN to take the right decisions: Kobler must be removed and an inquiry initiated. The refugees must be returned to Ashraf, the UN High Commission for Refugees through its mission must consider its most important efforts as guaranteeing the residents’ security, and the international community must bring an end to their suffering.