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ASHRAF MONITOR

Issue 53

News about the Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Friday, February 26, 2010

 

 


"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

 

Hundreds of Ashraf Residents in Urgent Need of Medical Care

U.S., UNAMI Must Intervene to End Inhumane Siege of Ashraf
PRNewswire

February 18, 2010
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seven months after the Iraqi forces' deadly and unprovoked assault on the defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, members of Iran's main opposition People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the continued inhumane and unlawful siege of the camp has put the lives of hundreds of its residents in great peril.

The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR), representing U.S. families and relatives of the residents, strongly condemns the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's inhumane crackdown on Ashraf residents which is clearly designed to placate the Iranian regime.

USCCAR calls on President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Hill, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), to intervene to ensure the immediate end to the siege of Ashraf.

An almost blanket ban on medical care and supplies is now one of the most critical problems at Ashraf. Many residents are suffering from incurable diseases and a large number of those wounded during the July raid suffer permanent injuries.

Iraqi forces, acting on orders from Committee for the Closure of Ashraf in the Prime Minister's Office, have prevented specialist doctors from visiting Ashraf. As a result many cases have turned malignant and can no longer be cured. A number of patients are losing their vision and several women are suffering from cancer.

Compounding the medical crisis is the prevention of fuel delivery to Ashraf in recent months. Food supplies are only allowed following lengthy inspections, resulting in the food turning rotten.

In recent days, in collusion with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), al-Maliki's government has transported a number of MOIS agents under the guise of families of the residents to the gate of Ashraf to exert further pressure on them. Ashraf families, meanwhile, are barred from visiting the Camp.

Iraqi authorities have refused issuing visas to US and European lawyers of the residents. European parliamentarians, human rights and religious organizations and dignitaries are also barred. Moreover, the Iraqi government still intends to forcibly transfer the residents of Ashraf to an inhabitable detention center near the Saudi border.

The 3,400 residents of Ashraf are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. These restrictions violate international law as well as International Humanitarian Law and constitute crimes against humanity...  Read More

 

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ExecutiveAction Analysis Concludes RAND Report on MeK Highly Flawed, Biased and Inaccurate

Urges Investigations and New Impartial Study
Business Wire

February 25, 2010
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ExecutiveAction LLC today released a detailed analysis of the RAND Report, The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum, calling the document “deeply flawed” and “polemical.” According to Neil C. Livingstone, Chairman and CEO of ExecutiveAction, LLC, the report appears to have been written to “justify the destruction of the MeK as a group, without regard to their lives or the consequences of the U.S. committing grave breaches of international law.”

“The RAND report fails to include material evidence, misrepresents critical issues, contains biased and pejorative characterizations, and utilizes sources of dubious credibility,” Livingstone said. “The report clearly violates RAND’s standard of ‘objective analysis’ and thus its recommendations should be disregarded by policymakers.”

The RAND report, released in July 2009, focuses on the circumstances surrounding the detention of the 3,400 MeK members at Camp Ashraf and whether they were taken into custody and detained under the appropriate terms. It recommends the U.S. should encourage the government of Iraq to involuntarily deport (refoule) the entire population of Ashraf to Iran, in violation of international law.

“The RAND report fails to make any reference to the fact that membership in the MeK is a longstanding capital crime in Iran and is likely a death sentence for those forced to return,” Livingstone said.

Following the distribution of the RAND report on the MeK, ExecutiveAction was retained by an American citizen to conduct an evaluation of the document, including the authors’ objectivity, thoroughness, and recommendations. ExecutiveAction’s monograph, Courting Disaster: How a Biased, Inaccurate RAND Corporation Report Imperils Lives, Flouts International Law, and Betrays Its Own Standards, presents its findings and analysis. This includes:

  • Questionable Experience – The government-funded report on the MeK was assigned by RAND to authors with virtually no experience researching and writing about Iran.

  • Propagandistic Attack – More than half of the report focuses on delegitimizing the MeK by repeating long-discredited claims about its leadership and history.

  • Critical Materials Absent – The RAND authors omit material information, fail to present conflicting viewpoints, and exclude relevant and credible information, including statements from senior U.S. military officers.

  • Dubious Citations – Numerous citations referred to in the report are highly biased and cite individuals known to be supporters of the Iranian government, which is seeking to destroy the MeK. Assertions are advanced without citations and many of the report’s findings are contradicted by publicly available news sources that the authors failed to present.

  • Violates International Law – Recommendations in the report are in clear violation of international law.

RAND Corporation’s Standards for High Quality Research state unequivocally that “research should be objective, independent, and balanced.” As a result of its failure to uphold this standard, ExecutiveAction’s report recommends:

  1. RAND conduct an independent investigation to determine how the flawed report on the MeK could have been produced. If it views the report as legitimate scholarship, it calls into question the veracity of all its publications.

  2. Congress, in its fiduciary responsibility, task the General Accountability Office to conduct an investigation and to examine the processes in place at RAND to ensure its publications attain “high standards for research and objectivity.”

  3. DoD, which commissioned the report, reject its recommendations and commission a new impartial study that includes authors with respected and appropriate expertise to properly address the issues in question regarding the MeK...  Read More

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Human Rights Violations in Iran and Iraq
World Press

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
February 26, 2010

A group of Arab human rights organizations, in a public statement, called on Iranian authorities to cease all attacks and security operations against the February 11th demonstrators, and to release all individuals arrested and detained for allegedly conspiring to bring about a "velvet revolution" following the disputed June 12 elections…

A group of human rights organizations have also recently spoken out against abuses in Iraq, condemning repressive measures taken by the Iraqi authorities against the residents of Camp Ashraf. Located about 60 km north of Baghdad, the camp is home to some 3,500 Iranian refugees, largely members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq and their families.

The Iraqi authorities have been increasing pressure on camp residents for more than a year, ultimately aimed at expelling them from Iraq by making their continued presence in the country "intolerable," according to one prominent Iraqi security official. These official statements were put into practice in July 2009, when Iraqi security forces raided the camp, leaving 11 people dead and nearly 500 injured. In addition, 36 members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq were arrested, and many reports have stated they were likely tortured before being released in October.

The Iraqi authorities have stated their official intention to shut down the camp completely in preparation for the transfer of Ashraf residents to other camps in the desert area of southern Iraq. Over the last three months, the camp has been placed under an increasingly tight siege, with fuel supplies being denied entry. According to some reports, entry for doctors, medicine, food and other necessities has also been obstructed.

It is feared that these measures are a prelude to the expulsion of camp residents to Iran, where they are liable to be tortured or executed like hundreds of other Mujahedin-e Khalq members. These measures also make camp residents an easy target for retaliatory attacks inside Iraq; the Mujahedin-e Khalq were hosted by Saddam Hussein's regime during the Iraq-Iran war, and some Iraqi political currents accuse them of collaborating with that regime to repress the popular uprising of 1991.

Regardless of the political matters that have made Camp Ashraf residents unwelcome in Iraq, the Iraq authorities are urged to respect human rights and international humanitarian law as they deal with the issue. They are required to protect the camp's residents under the Fourth Geneva Convention, particularly since the Mujahedin-e Khalq declared that it had renounced violence after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its members have disarmed since that time. In particular, the Iraqi authorities are required to abstain from measures that would lead to the expulsion or forced repatriation of camp residents to Iran. They are also obligated to allow human rights observers to enter Camp Ashraf and assess the humanitarian situation.

In view of American promises to respect the legal status of Camp Ashraf residents as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention, even after the camp was turned over to the Iraqi authorities in 2009, human rights organizations urge the U.S. administration to intervene with the Iraqi authorities to ensure that these promises are kept. They also call on the United Nations and the international community to intervene with the Iraqi authorities and offer all possible help in lifting the siege on the camp and respecting the choice of its residents to either remain in the camp or resettle in a third country where they will be protected from deportation to Iran or retaliatory attacks in Iraq.... Read More

 

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As uprising in Iran continues, the siege on PMOI members in Iraq's Camp Ashraf intensifies
Family Security Matters

February 24, 2010
By Shahriar Kia, a FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor and a member of the PMOI in Ashraf
The Iraqi government recently has intensified its cruel and inhumane siege on members of the Iranian opposition group People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) in Camp Ashraf, an Iranian refugee camp located in Iraq. The Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has dispatched a number of its agents under the cover of families of Ashraf residents and are setting the stage for media shows. Meanwhile, new criminal acts by the Iraqi committee to suppress the camp's residents are being perpetrated under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s control to serve the religious fascism ruling Iran in the run-up to the Iraqi parliamentary elections…

There are two factors urging the Iranian regime in its suppression of PMOI members, its main organized alternative, residing in Ashraf: first, the continued nationwide uprising in Iran against the regime has rung the alarm for the Mullahs. Second, the regime is worried about the Iraqi elections because the political balance may be tilted to the benefit of democratic and nationalist forces in Iraq. Thus, the Iranian regime pressures the Iraqi government to suppress Ashraf residents as a precondition for supporting Iraqi counterparts in the course of parliamentary elections. The recent visit of Larijani, Iran’s parliament speaker, to Iraq and his remarks about the elections in Iraq and the PMOI, as well as the remarks and deeds by Kazemi Qomi, a Quds Force commander and the regime’s ambassador to Baghdad, leave no doubt in this regard… Read More

 

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Kuwaiti Human Rights Committee Chairman demands UN protection of Camp Ashraf
NCRI Website

February  24, 2010
NCRI - The Chairman of the Human Rights Committee in Kuwait’s Parliament has released a statement calling for the Untied Nations to take on responsibility to protect Camp Ashraf.

Dr. Walid al-Tabtabai said: Until such time that UN forces take on the responsibility to protect Ashraf, American forces must guarantee that there are no attacks or violence against Ashraf residents, and that they will not be displaced.

He added, “The Iraqi government must respect the rights of Ashraf residents on the basis of compliance with the April 2009 European Parliament resolution.”

Dr. Tabtabai also noted, “With each passing day, the Iranian people sacrifice more lives to continue their uprising to bring change to their country and obtain freedom and democracy. Now the world is seeing their heroism and attesting that there is a war going on in Iran with the Iranian people on the one hand, armed with determination and the legitimacy of their demands, and the rulers on the other hand, relying on terrorism and an array of means of suppression.”...  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
E-Mail: info@USCCAR.org
Phone: 202-640-1947