November 20, 2017

PMOI members in Camp Liberty protest Iraqi siege

NCRI – Members of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) at Camp Liberty, Iraq, this week protested the deteriorating state of the camp’s living conditions due to a siege imposed by Iraqi forces.

Thousands of PMOI members, including nearly 1,000 women, are currently living in Camp Liberty, which is located next to Baghdad International Airport.

PMOI members in Camp Liberty are unable to acquire camp infrastructure repair and maintenance necessities due to a rise in inhumane restrictions by the Iraqi forces loyal to Iranian regime, Camp Liberty spokesperson Shahriar Kia wrote in Ground Report.

Despite clear provisions in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by UNAMI and the Government of Iraq (GOI) in 2011 regarding the residents’ right to purchase all life necessities, in recent weeks Iraqi forces have imposed “new arbitrary prevention measures on entering life necessities and sanitary vehicles that discharge the camp sewage,” Kia added.

One Camp Liberty resident who attended this week’s protests said: “Preventing repair of sanitary vehicles will cause severe health threats to us as result of septic overflow. There are not enough sewage tankers to handle the septic”.

Connection of Camp Liberty’s sewage system to the municipal sewage network has been a long-standing demand of the residents which has been denied by the Iraqi camp management.

Another Camp Liberty protester said: “It is not bearable to stay in the trailers, let alone to have any rest in this summer heat. When generators are not running in their capacity, there is no air conditioning; our rooms [are] over 47 degrees (Celsius) in this hot weather of Ramadan.”

Iraq refuses to connect Camp Liberty to the national electricity grid. The camp’s electricity is powered entirely by generators, but malfunctions of generators due to lack of spare parts, directly affects HVAC malfunctioning, resulting in intolerable living conditions for residents.

One of the Camp Liberty residents explained: “By the orders of the Iraqi committee tasked to suppress the residents, which is controlled by Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh Fayyad, the Iraqi forces refuse to give us our goods which they have stopped at the gate. Spare parts for the camp’s ice-making machines are among the items held up that we badly need in the hot weather and during the month of Ramadan.”

According to the Camp Liberty protestors, obstruction of basic life-support requirements is a violation of humanitarian and human rights standards, as well as many international covenants, and a criminal act meriting prosecution.

The protesters in Camp Liberty demand an end to the prison-like conditions and arbitrary conduct of the Iraqi forces in the camp and call on the U.S. government and United Nations for urgent action on the latest restrictions. UNAMI and UNHCR should rise to their duties based on the MOU and intervene immediately to alleviate the situation and to improve the Camp Liberty residents’ living conditions, Kia added.

The Camp Liberty residents have “called on the United Nations and the U.S. government that have repeatedly and in writing committed themselves to the well being and security of Camp Liberty residents, as well as the European Union and its member states, to adopt immediate measures to end this antihuman siege.”