October 24, 2017

US Act to protect Iranian Dissidents at Camp Liberty


The US Congress has called on the US Government to launch an inquiry into the use of American weapons for the purposes of killing members of the Iranian opposition the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Iraq at Camp Liberty.

American supporters of the Iranian resistance are growing increasingly critical of the Obama administration for failing to keep its promise to protect more than 3,000 Iranian dissidents in an overcrowded refugee camp in Iraq, where they have been under repeated deadly attacks by Iraqi gunmen.

In 2003 Iranian dissidents handed over their weapons to US forces voluntarily in exchange for a US pledge to treat them as protected persons under the Geneva Conventions. But in 2009, the US passed this responsibility on to the Iraqi government which later launched three lethal attacks against the dissidents in Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad, and facilitated four more missile attacks on Camp Liberty, near Baghdad International Airport.

A new government spending bill, signed into law on December 16 by President Obama aims to rectify these violations. It demands that the US government urge Congress to provide detailed reports on the plight of Iranian dissidents at Camp Liberty, and their resettlement needs, within 90 days.

The reports are required to provide a description of measures taken to improve the security and welfare, including quality of life and access to medical care, of the residents of Camp Liberty. They are also required to probe into attacks against these dissidents since 2009, including whether any weapons or training provided by the United States were used in the attacks and how to prevent such attacks.

This is the first time a US Act unequivocally supports the protection of Camp Liberty residents that include members of the Iranian opposition, the PMOI/MEK.

This is a great step forward for the PMOI. The resistance movement has come a long way since it was labelled a terrorist organisation in 1997. The Iranian Resistance has been able to make headways despite all odds.

The legislation is a breakthrough as it legally binds the US government to uphold its promises regarding Camp Liberty and increase pressure on the Government of Iraq to respect human rights. It signals to the Iraqi Government that violence and crimes against the residents will be monitored.