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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 34

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, June 9, 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

 

 

Camp Ashraf: Iraqi police blocks entry of workers, basic needs
NCRI Press Release

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
In the fourth month of siege of Ashraf, Iraqi police fully blocked entry of workers and basic needs to Ashraf
International call to remove police from Ashraf and end inhuman blockade

NCRI - On Monday, June 8, 2009, Iraqi police prevented workers from entering Camp Ashraf for the fourth consecutive day. They were threatened and sent back. In the past five months about one third of workers in Ashraf who were about 750 at the end of 2008 were able to enter Ashraf after passing through various controls and obstacles but in recent days not even one worker could get in...

Ashraf residents in their letters to international organizations and American officials have highlighted that the entry of the police to Ashraf while Iraqi military as well as American forces acting as observers are present, can only serve the suppressive aims dictated by the Iranian regime. This is while there has never been a security problem inside Ashraf since its inception 23 years ago...

Moreover, in April, all residents of Ashraf were fingerprinted and interviewed privately by the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights outside Ashraf one by one. They all stressed on their legal rights. Thus, in these circumstances, the entry of police to the Camp is totally unjustified, specially where some 1000 women members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) stay in there.

Fourteen parliamentary committees in Europe and North America as well as the International Committee of Jurists in Defense of Ashraf (ICJDA) and the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) comprised of 8,500 jurists and 2,000 Parliamentarians respectively from various countries, have reiterated that the Iranian regime's goal is to cause a humanitarian catastrophe in Ashraf...

Parliamentarians and jurists have stressed in their letters to President Obama that due to the pressures by the Iranian regime on the Iraqi government to suppress Ashraf residents (remarks by Khamenei on February 28, Ahmadinejad on May 19 and Jalili, the regime's Supreme National Security Council secretary on May 21, 2009), the only solution in present circumstances is for the American forces to assume protection of Ashraf.

The jurists have advised their clients in Ashraf that in the absence of their lawyers and while they are under siege and attacked by the police, not to sign any document or engage in any negotiations until the Iraqi government declares its compliance with the European Parliament resolution of April 24 on the humanitarian situation of Ashraf residents...  Read More

 

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Credible Threats and Valid Intelligence about Iran
Human Events

June 5, 2009

by Raymond Tanter
Professor Raymond Tanter is a former senior staffer of the National Security Council in the Reagan-Bush Administration and is President of Iran Policy Committee.

... The Iranian dissident group that revealed information about Natanz is the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), parliament in exile of the main Iranian opposition groups, the most prominent of which is the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, aka the Mujahedeen-e Khalq or MEK). Its revelations proved to be vital in bringing American foreign policy to a more up-to-date assessment and formulation about the Iranian threat, thus contributing to American security in the long term...

Receiving such valuable intelligence depends on the survival of the most crucial member organization of the NCRI coalition, the PMOI, which is headquartered in Ashraf, Iraq, and has a vast clandestine network of supporters inside Iran; among other things, that network helped these Iranian dissidents expose Iran’s nuclear program. Understandably, Tehran has launched an extensive campaign, complete with a sophisticated propaganda machine and supplied with billions of dollars in state funds, aimed at destroying or, at least, expelling the group from Iraq. Some officials within the Iraqi government have bent to Tehran’s will...

In accordance with its international obligations and 2004 status of “protected persons” it granted to the PMOI in Ashraf, Washington has been working against any displacement of Ashraf residents. At issue is whether the U.S. Government has demanded the Iraqi government to ensure protection of the PMOI consistent with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The United States also could remove the PMOI from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Doing so would be both consistent with the facts that the organization does not meet the criteria for listing; but it would also diminish the public rationale some in Baghdad continue to use for displacement of Ashraf residents, which is a ruse to mask the fact that they are acquiescing to the wishes of Tehran...

Set aside, for the moment, the issue of resolving the Iranian regime’s sponsorship of terrorism and threat to the region, if not the world. The supervening issue is whether and how the United States will assure the safety and freedom of the PMOI members now in Camp Ashraf.

Let’s be blunt: We disarmed them, confined them, and then declared them “protected persons” under the Geneva Conventions. It would be illegal and immoral for America to allow them to be turned over to unelected clerics in Tehran or their proxies in Iraq for what will certainly result in their torture, imprisonment, and probably murder... Read More

 

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Iraqi MPs write to UN Secretary General, call for Camp Ashraf protection
NCRI Website

June 6, 2009
NCRI - Eleven members of the Iraqi Parliament have sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, expressing concern about the tightening of a siege on Ashraf City, home to 3,400 members of the main Iranian opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). They urged Ban Ki-Moon to personally intervene in the matter to ensure the protection and safety of Ashraf residents.

“We consider your personal interference in the matter in the context of the principle of RtoP [Responsibility to Protect] as a determining factor for the upholding of international guarantees respecting these residents’ rights,” said the Iraqi MPs from various parliamentary groups... Read More

 

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Iranians hold demonstrations in front of Iraqi embassies in various countries
NCRI Website

June 5, 2009
NCRI - Protests by Iranian exiles against a siege on Ashraf City continued this week in Ottawa, London, and Washington in front of Iraqi embassies. Protestors condemned the heightening of the siege on Ashraf as well as the sudden intrusion of police there, demanding the rights of Ashraf residents to be guaranteed.

In Ottawa, a representative from the Iranian Youth Association of Resistance Supporters in Canada said that the Iraqi police’s illegal actions are the continuation of the dictated policies of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader against Ashraf... Another participant at the rally in the Canadian capital said: In order to show its independence, the Iraqi government must comply with the European Parliament’s resolution on the rights of Ashraf residents as soon as possible.

In Britain, Iranians gathering in front of the Iraqi embassy in London protested against the implementation of the Iranian regime’s dictated plots. They urged the lifting of restrictions and pressures against Ashraf residents.

Across the Atlantic, Iranians in Washington continued their 125th day of protests in front of the White House. They noted that in accordance with international law, the US government bears the responsibility to protect Ashraf residents and to ensure respect for their rights. The demonstrators urged the US President to personally intervene in the matter in order to prevent the occurrence of a humanitarian catastrophe in Ashraf City... Read More

 

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Arabs and the siege on Camp Ashraf
Al-Arab al-Youm (Jordanian daily)

June 6, 2009
Excerpts of text translated from Arabic to English

We have readily seen the brave, positive, prudent, and consistent position of European governments, institutions, people, and organizations when it comes to humanitarian issues and politics of freedom. So was Europe’s stance on Ashraf City, the bastion of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). This city has been placed under siege for more than a month now after pressures from Tehran, in violation of international laws and principles, and in contrast to the Iraqi government’s commitment to the American government regarding the protection of Ashraf, its residents, and respect for its rights.

The European Parliament resolution calling for the Iraqi government’s support for Ashraf residents, their rights, and their lives, is a clear signal and highlights Europe’s moral stance.

A question arises here: Do Arab governments, organizations and people have a similar responsibility when it comes to Ashraf and more broadly the PMOI?

This question has gained more prominence after Europe adopted its decision about Ashraf. In its plenary session in Strasburg on Friday, April 24, 2009, the European Parliament passed a very significant resolution about the ensuring of protection of Ashraf City in Iraq...


What responsibility do Arabs, as Ashraf residents’ brothers, have in relation to them? … Ashraf residents, one third of whom are women, are now experiencing the most difficult conditions under siege. Is it not the case that Arab organizations, institutions, non-government organizations, political figures, parliamentarians, and finally governments, are responsible when it comes to Ashraf? …

From a humanitarian perspective, who in this Arab land can truly claim to respect Arab hospitality customs, while at the same time accepting that the beautiful city of Ashraf residents, who are guests of genuine Arab customs and values, has turned into a prison, imprisoning with it the aspirations and prospects of Iraq and the region?

Even if we put aside the humanitarian aspect, there is a political one. What is the role of Ashraf that has brought it this much exposure, and why has the Iranian regime placed such heavy pressure on it? The reason for these pressures is that if the Tehran regime were to be able to remove this obstacle from its path or if it can sustain the siege on Ashraf, it would be able to export its revolution to Iraq and other Arab countries in the region by asserting its control on Ashraf...

It is now time for Arabs to responsibly come to the fore and demand the lifting of all restrictions on Ashraf. They should lift the siege on Ashraf and remove all that can restrict their freedom or rights. They should call on the Iraqi government to respect their rights... Read More

 

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France Libertes: Iraq must recognize rights of Camp Ashraf residents
NCRI Website

June 9, 2009
NCRI- “France LibertÚs” Foundation chaired by former French first lady during Francoise Mitterand’s presidency, Danielle Mitterand, issued a statement calling on the Iraqi government to “recognize the rights of Ashraf residents” who have been residing in Iraq “under the protection of international law and the Geneva Conventions, particularly Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.”...

In its statement, issued on May 28, France LibertÚs said: “The Iraqi government must recognize the rights of Ashraf residents who have been residing legally in Iraq for 23 years under the protection of international law and the Geneva Conventions, particularly Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.”

“Following the ban by Iraqi authorities on visits by families, lawyers and parliamentarians from other countries, the Foundation France LibertÚs is deeply concerned about the situation of the residents of Ashraf City in Iraq.”...

France LibertÚs also said, in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the ban on visits by families, lawyers and parliamentarians should be lifted without precondition. The Iraqi government, it said, must also respect the principles of non-refoulement and the right to effective judicial protection for Ashraf residents, and remove illegal restrictions against them... 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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Web: www.USCCAR.org
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Phone: 202-640-1947