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ASHRAF MONITOR

Issue 58

News about the Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, July 6, 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

 

Members of U.S. Congress Call for Continued U.S. Protection of Camp Ashraf
USCCAR Press Release
Friday, June 11, 2010

- Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA): "I have difficulty understanding what has the MEK done, anything remotely, in recent times, that causes the MEK to be on that [FTO] list."
- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA): "as the United States begins its withdrawal, we cannot permit that group of people who are enemies to the mullah regime basically to be turned over to the mullahs."

WASHINGTON - At a Congressional briefing on Thursday 10 June, 2010, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives emphasized the need for the continued U.S. protection of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The bi-partisan call was made in light of the announcement by the United States military that the U.S. intends to evacuate Camp Grizzly in Ashraf and turn it over to the Iraqi Security Forces by July 1st. Many members at the briefing, which coincided with the anniversary of the uprising in Iran, also called for the removal of Iran's main opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), from the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

At the briefing, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, remarked that "The world would be better, and of course Iran would be better, if the people of Iran were able to have a government worthy of their great culture, worthy of their great history. Until then, the folks at Camp Ashraf are in a difficult circumstance and it is critically important that the United States monitor that camp, both today and after July 1st. We cannot allow a human rights catastrophe to occur in Iraq just because we are in the process of leaving."

Referring to the State Department's FTO list and noting that it is "questionable to list on that list entities which are not enemies of the United States but are enemies of the enemies of the United States," the Sherman Oaks lawmaker stated that "I have difficulty understanding what has the MEK done, anything remotely, in recent times, that causes the MEK to be on that list. I do know there is no entity more feared, more hated by the mullahs who run Iran than the MEK, which is perhaps the finest compliment that could be paid to that organization." ...  Read More

 

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480,000 Iraqis in Diyala Province express their support for Ashraf
NCRI Website
Saturday, 03 July 2010

480,000 people in Diyala demand lifting of inhuman siege on Camp Ashraf and assumption of the camp’s protection by the United Nations
Tribal leaders and sheikhs from Azzeh, Jabour, Neda, Obeidi, Dulaimi, Bani Zeyd, Khashali, Karvi, Bani Veys, Sadeh al-Someidi, Bayati, al-Douri, Zoheyrieh, Mahdawi, Azzi, Karkhi, Jenabi, Massoudi, Hamed, Loheibi, Hadidi, Mashayekhi, Majmaii, Khazraji, and Noeymi are among the signatories.

 

In their letters and declarations, which in the past three months have been signed by 1,071 tribal sheikhs and tribal councils, 41 social, human rights and non-political organizations, 2,165 lawyers and jurists, 6,872 doctors, engineers, professors, and academics, 48 members of city councils and chairs of government institutions from Diyala, signatories reminded about the US Congress resolution 704, and emphasized the US government’s obligations and responsibilities in guaranteeing the protection of Ashraf residents in the face of attacks, violence and forcible displacement, which would constitute violation of international conventions, especially as US forces prepare to withdraw from Iraq... Read More

 

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Thousands of Iranian Government Opponents Hold Rally Outside Paris
The New York Times

Saturday, 26 June 2010
TAVERNY, France — At least 30,000 opponents to the Iranian government gathered on Saturday in a stadium in this quiet town outside Paris to support the National Council of Resistance to Iran in a large rally coming a year after disputed elections in Iran.

Amid high security, and with the presence of some well-known conservative political figures like the former Spanish prime minister, Maria Aznar, and the former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, the crowd heard speeches condemning the Iranian regime of the ayatollahs and of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…

The rally, with supporters dressed in lavender and yellow, was in support of the council leader, Maryam Rajavi, who calls herself the president-elect of the Iranian resistance and lives in exile in France. Her husband, Massoud Rajavi, has not been made any public appearances since 2003.

She called for mobilization of resistance inside and outside of Iran, saying: “No to turbaned fascism, no to stoning, to executions and amputations, no to the obligatory veil, to obligatory religion, to imposed government.” Supporter shouted, “Azadi,” or liberty. She called on governments to stop buying oil and gas from Iran, welcomed sanctions resolutions passed by the United States Congress and said that Iranian leaders should be tried for crimes against the Iranian people.

Mr. Aznar said: “I support your fight for liberty and democracy. The Iranian people have suffered enough. They demand and deserve a better government, which respects the dignity of people and assures fundamental liberties.”

Mr. Bolton said that “the Iranian regime has become a military dictatorship, fascist and repressive. But the repression that followed the fraudulent elections of 2009 has shown to what point the regime is criminal and the opposition powerful.”... Read More

 

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Joint plots by mullahs' regime and al-Maliki to obtain arrest warrants for PMOI leaders
NCRI Press Release
Tuesday, 06 July 2010

NCRI - In the lead up to the anniversary of the July 9 student-led uprising in Tehran, from the early hours of Monday the mullahs' regime's state radio, television and press have been broadcasting round the clock reports of arrest warrants issued against the leaders of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) by Iraq's "Supreme Criminal Court". According to information received, Haji Ali Navadi, an official in the regime's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has in recent months and weeks repeated travelled to the Supreme Criminal Court to obtain judgments against the PMOI by providing major bribes. He had previously been exposed in a series of statements by the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). In recent months he helped organize a despicable psychological torture campaign against the residents of Camp Ashraf by a group of MOIS agents stationed at the gates of Ashraf...  Read More

 

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Our Enemy's Enemy Is Our Enemy? The Strange Case of the U.S.-MEK Relationship
THE HUFFINGTON POST
Friday, 18 June 2010

By Allan Gerson
Allan Gerson is Chairman of AG International Law, a Washington, D.C. law firm. He served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations during the Reagan Administration, and is the author of "Israel, the West Bank, and International Law" (1978).
... There are immediate life and death consequences to the State Department's determination to treat the MEK as Public Enemy No. 1 despite its record of providing the international community with vital information about Iran's nuclear capabilities. Relying on the State Department designation, the government of Iraq has said that it is determined (following the dictates of Iran as the U.S. completes its withdrawal of forces) to forcibly relocate 3500 MEK members located at Camp Ashraf in Northern Iraq. Either they would be expelled to Iran, where a terrible fate would await them, or shipped to a prison camp in Iraq's harsh southern desert.

The clock is ticking. Responding to mounting concerns about the safety of the Camp Ashraf residents, several members of Congress, led by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), convened in Washington on June 10th to introduce the "Pro-Democracy Movement in Iran Resolution." That resolution calls upon the Obama Administration to remove the MEK from the State Department's Foreign Terrorist List. The resolution also calls for a more vigorous U.S. approach to promoting freedom and democracy in Iran.

As several members of Congress recognized, the United States is morally if not legally obligated to ensure that the government of Iraq provide immediate ironclad assurances that it will not repeat its deadly entry into Camp Ashraf in July 2009 resulting in eleven deaths and many scores injured. Moreover, the United States must take steps to ensure that Iraq take seriously its responsibility to neither forcibly repatriate nor relocate the residents of Camp Ashraf until a solution can be found which guarantees the safety of the Camp Ashraf residents, preferably under UN or other international auspices.

Along these lines, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) demanded that the residents of Camp Ashraf "not be kidnapped and tortured, and that they not be taken to other remote places in Iraq or other countries and hidden out, because the world must protect the dignity, the sanctity, and the safety of the people in Camp Ashraf." Similarly, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) declared that "we have to make sure we protect the people in Camp Ashraf and that we ensure, even with the U.S. leaving, that those residents are protected. They are people who have stood up for what is right and we must make sure that their security is protected."

Addressing the geopolitical consequences of not providing backing to the Camp Ashraf residents at this point, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said it best, "What's relevant is not the differences that we might have with different groups that are fighting the mullahs. What's the overwriting imperative now is for all of us to stand together united and not let the people of Ashraf or the people of Iran stand alone at anytime against these mullah dictators who threaten not only the freedom of their own people but the peace and stability of the region."

Yes, what is at stake at Camp Ashraf is not only the fate of its residents but the U.S. word in protecting those who side with us against those who would do them harm...  Read More

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Archbishop Desmond Tuto defends the rights of Ashraf residents
NCRI Website

Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M. Tuto of Cape Town reiterated his support for the rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf, home to members of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran living in Iraq, in a letter addressed to the residents on June 25. Text of his message follows:

Dear Residents of Ashraf,
Following the deadly attacks last year against Ashraf, I supported the stand of among others the Archbishop of Canterbury, in condemning the attack on Iranian dissident refugees in Camp Ashraf.

I extend my support to the majority resolution 704 in the US House of Representatives which calls upon President Obama “to take all necessary and appropriate steps to support the commitments of the Unites States under international law and treaty obligations to ensure the physical security and protection of Camp Ashraf residents against inhumane treatment and involuntary deportation by Iraqi security forces.” The security of Ashraf residents needs to be guaranteed by the US forces in Iraq.

Based on international law and Geneva Conventions the residents of Ashraf are civilian “protected persons”. Therefore, the restrictions and unlawful blockade imposed on them by the government of Iraq must be lifted immediately. As the UN Secretary-General stated in his report of May 19, 2010 to the UNSC, the residents should have “unhindered access to the goods and services of a humanitarian nature”, and they must be “protected from arbitrary mass displacement or forced repatriation against their will in violation of the universally accepted principle of non-refoulement.”...  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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Phone: 202-640-1947