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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 46

News about the Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Friday, November 20, 2009

 

In this Issue:

 


"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

 

Situation in Camp Ashraf
Report of the U.N. Secretary-General to the Security Council
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
... With regard to the situation in Camp Ashraf, tensions escalated on 28 and 29 July between Iraqi security forces and the camp’s residents who belong to the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran. When Iraqi security forces entered the Camp to establish a police station within its boundaries, the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran strongly objected and the ensuing confrontation resulted in 11 residents killed and approximately 200 wounded.

 

Iraqi security forces further arrested and detained 36 residents, who then staged a hunger strike in conjunction with another 136 residents. On 7 October, the detainees were released and returned to the Camp, after agreeing to appear before an Iraqi court if summoned and to leave Iraq for third-country resettlement if the opportunity were made available.

 

Subsequently, Iraqi Government officials have called for the closure of the Camp, but have repeatedly given assurances to UNAMI of their commitment to treat the residents in accordance with international humanitarian law and the principle of non-refoulement.

 

In response to numerous requests UNAMI, supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has undertaken monitoring of the humanitarian situation in the Camp as part of an effort to find possible solutions involving various interested parties...  Read More

 

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Iranian Dissidents in Iraq
The New York Times (Letters to Editor)
Friday, November 20, 2009

By the U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents

“In Iraq, Tensions Bubble Inside and Outside an Iranian Exile Camp” (news article, Nov. 10) correctly highlights concerns about a repeat of the Iraqi forces’ deadly July attack on 3,400 defenseless Iranian dissidents at Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

For the residents of Ashraf, “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, relocation to the European Union countries or the United States is an option. Until then and given Tehran’s continued efforts to crack down on Ashraf through its Iraqi proxies, the United States must ensure that Ashraf residents are safe and not forcibly displaced inside Iraq.

According to Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the United States’ responsibility toward Ashraf did not end with the transfer of protection of Camp Ashraf to Iraq earlier this year.

Washington’s reluctance to fulfill its humanitarian obligations has only exacerbated concerns among Ashraf residents and their families in Iran and abroad.

Although the United Nations has called on Iraq to treat the residents humanely, it is the United States that has a responsibility under the Geneva Conventions (and written commitments from Baghdad) to ensure that this happens.

Our loved ones in Ashraf, contrary to the assertions of Iraqi Army officers in the article, are not “cultlike” or “too frightened to leave.” They are members of the main Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, who went to Ashraf of their own free will to strive for freedom and human rights in Iran... Read More

 

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Human Rights and the Iranian Opposition
The Global Politician
BY Prof. Raymond Tanter

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Professor Raymond Tanter is president of the Iran Policy Committee; he was a member of the National Security Council staff and personal representative of the Secretary of Defense in the Reagan-Bush administration. His latest book is President Obama and Iraq: Toward a Responsible Troop Drawdown, 2009.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of the United Nations begins with the statement that all peoples and all nations should strive to promote respect for human rights. Moreover, the Declaration ends with the principle that “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

One of the rights is that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” At issue is how serial violators of human rights principles should be held accountable for such violations. Consider the cases of Iran and Iraq, which appear to be in collusion to deny human rights protections to thousands of Iranian dissidents in Iraq.

Tehran not only is probably complicit in violating the human rights of its opponents in Iraq, but also is clearly in violation of the rights of its citizens in Iran. On November 4, 2009, a day for anti-Americanism on the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets, chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The activists were violently dispersed by Iranian security forces, contrary to the principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a November 4 speech to the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, U.S. Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL) drew attention to human rights violations on the streets of Iran’s major cities and read aloud the names of Iranian dissidents. Now, another human rights catastrophe involving additional Iranian oppositionists is gaining the attention of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Christian clergy. If human rights activists were to read aloud the names of the threatened, the Government of Iraq can be held accountable for the fate of the oppositionists.

The main Iranian opposition group in exile is based at Camp Ashraf, Iraq, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad, and is under threat from Iraqi Security Forces, most probably operating at the behest of Tehran. A seven month siege by Iraqi Forces escalated tragically on July 28-29, 2009, when Iraqi police invaded Ashraf, home of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK). These violent actions are clearly contrary to the principles in the UDHR.

Iraqi proxies for Tehran felt confident enough to invade Ashraf while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was in Iraq; the assaults left at least 11 Iranian oppositionists dead, and several hundred injured. Thirty-six residents were detained for 72 days, despite three court rulings for their release. They finally reached Ashraf, hours before several were about to die after they embarked on a seven-day dry hunger strike, following a 65-day liquid only hunger fast. Now, international humanitarian organizations fear they and the others at Camp Ashraf may be dispersed within Iraq and subjected to attack because of their enhanced vulnerability, or extradited to Iran to face torture and execution...  Read More

 

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Iraqi forces prevent entry of physicians to Camp Ashraf
NCRI Press Release

Monday, November 9, 2009
NCRI - Upon the order of the Iraqi government’s committee for suppression of Camp Ashraf residents, Iraqi forces on Sunday prevented the entry of a group of specialist physicians to the camp who had come from Diyala province’s health department to treat patients at the camp’s hospital.

This is for the fourth time during the past two weeks that the Iranian agents in Iraq have prevented physicians from entering the camp. The forces threatened the physicians with arrests as they tried again to enter the camp. Previously, they were forced to return on October 25 and 28 and November 1.

Physicians are barred while many of some 500 camp residents who were injured during the July 27-28 brutal attacks by Iraqi forces are in need of special medical attention.

Also, Iraqi forces prevented two fuel tankers from entering the camp last week. Their drivers were arrested and taken to Khalis city prison and their tankers were seized. The Iraqi committee for suppression of Ashraf had ordered that no fuel should be allowed into the Camp. This is an open offer of service to the Iranian regime during Larijani’s visit to Iraq against the Iranian people and their Resistance... Read More
 

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Iran creates new spy agency to fight protests
Independent
Friday, November 13, 2009

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has created a powerful new intelligence organisation to try to quell any further public unrest in the wake of June's disputed election, an exiled Iranian opposition group said yesterday.


The new organisation, responsible for intelligence and security, is an off-shoot of the Revolutionary Guards and will report directly to the Supreme Leader's office, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a Paris-based group that has followers in Europe and claims many in Iran.

The shift is the largest overhaul of the intelligence structure since 1989, when Iran's first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, died, the NCRI believes, and reflects the depth of the leadership's concern about post-election protests.

"Although the mullahs have made public declarations about the new organisation, they have nonetheless concealed its real dimension and true nature," Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the NCRI, told a news conference in Brussels. "Its command structure is linked directly to Khamenei. Its formation marks an unprecedented transformation for the regime's intelligence and suppressive apparatus."

The organisation, called the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, took shape in June, soon after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a vote his opponents said was rigged, a charge the authorities reject.

Ms Rajavi said work on the new body was completed last month, and that the information came from sources in Iran. Iranian officials have yet to comment on reports of a revamped intelligence organisation... Read More

 

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About Humanitarian Crisis for Iranian Dissidents and their Families in Camp Ashraf

More than 3,400 members of Iran’s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) and their families, among them nearly 1,000 Muslim women, reside in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.  The PMOI was the source of ground breaking revelation in the United States in 2002 about Iran’s two until-then secret nuclear sites at Natanz and Arak.

 

On July 28-29, 2009, Iraqi forces ordered directly by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acting at the behest of Iran rulers, carried out a violent, unprovoked raid on Camp Ashraf, killing 11 residents, wounding 500, and abducting 36.

 

The brutal raid on Ashraf was a blatant violation of the solemn commitment Iraq had given to the United States that it would provide "humane treatment of the Camp Ashraf residents in accordance with Iraq’s Constitution, laws, and international obligations."

The assault took place while U.S. service members on the scene were observing the situation closely. Regrettably they took no action to prevent the premeditated violence despite direct appeals by Ashraf residents at the outset and during the attack.

 

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.“

 

United States had legal and moral obligations and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to protect these Iranian exiles.
 

 

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

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, # 195, Washington, DC 20006-1811

Web: www.USCCAR.org
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Phone: 202-640-1947