By Shahriar Kia, Ground Report
Friday, 8 April 2016
Human rights NGOs and advocates raised the issue of undeniable rights of Camp Liberty residents, recognized Iranian opposition members in Iraq striving to establish democracy and freedom in Iran. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been urged to take vital action and use his influence to guarantee the rights of these Iranian refugees in the restive country of Iraq.
After their security dossier was transferred by U.S. forces in Iraq to the central government of Baghdad back in 2009, this defenseless and unarmed population has to this day been in the cross hairs of 7 deadly attack staged by Iraqi forces and/or proxies linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, the letter reads in part. A total of 141 residents have lost their lives to this day and 27 others have fallen victim to the inhumane medical siege imposed on the camp, denying the severely ill of dire medical care. These attacks, with the most recent taking place in late October 2015 when 80 enhanced rockets upgraded with explosive barrels rained down on the tiny camp and took the lives of 24 residents, have made life in Liberty a living hell for the residents.
Iran has set its sights on the total annihilation of Camp Liberty residents. Being the world record-holder in executions per capita, the regime in Iran has been the subject of 62 condemnations by various UN organs due to its gross human rights violations. This makes it even more vital to provide increasing protection for Camp Liberty residents, as emphasized by the 25 human rights orgs and personalities.
Majority of the UN Member States have been strongly urged to make it clear for the Iraqi government the necessity to provide the vital guarantees required to ensure the lives of Camp Liberty residents are protected and they enjoy their fundamental human rights, the signatories of the letter stipulated. A recent U.S. budget bill approved in Congress and signed by U.S. President Barack Obama clearly specifies the importance of safeguarding protection for Liberty residents:
“The United States should take prompt and appropriate steps in accordance with international agreements to promote the physical security and protection of Camp Liberty residents” and “urge the Government of Iraq to uphold its commitments to the United States to ensure the safety and well-being of those living in Camp Liberty.”
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued two documents describing Camp Liberty as an illegal ‘detention center’. As raised by 120 NGOs in Iraq and 170 European Parliament Members, the Camp Liberty management team must be reshuffled as its core members played major roles in massacres against the residents, all under the auspices of Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Fayyad. The UNHCR has to finally recognize Liberty as a refugee camp to stop and prevent future attacks by Iran and its surrogates against the residents, the letter reads. We are living in the 21st century and it is high time for the Iraqi government to lift the entirety of the inhumane siege imposed on Camp Liberty, and permit the residents to enjoy freedom of movement, access to legal representation, and of course, medical services as many in the free world do today.
As Liberty residents are engaging in an accelerated resettlement project to third countries, the Iraqi government needs to finally recognize their ownership rights. This will permit these refugees to sell their property and assets in Iraq, or at least be compensated to continue the resettlement process at a faster pace, the signatories of this support letter emphasized. Normal in all crimes, the UN must launch a comprehensive independent probe into the October 29th, 2015 rocket attack and other inhumane crimes against the residents. Those responsible for these crimes must be placed before justice and held accountable for their atrocities.