Major Iraqi parliamentary group calls on UNHCR to provide security for Iranian refugees camped near Baghdad

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Major Iraqi parliamentary faction calls on UNHCR to provide security for Camp Liberty residents group
Major Iraqi parliamentary faction calls on UNHCR to provide security for Camp Liberty residents group

By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Monday, 14 March 2016

Dr. Ahmed al-Massari, MP and President of the Union of Iraqi Forces, Dr. Dhafer al-Ani, Member of the Iraqi Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission and spokesman of the Muttahedoon parliamentary group, and Talal Khozeir al-Zobayie, Chairman of the Iraqi Parliament Integrity Commission, along with 18 other Muttahedoon members of the Iraqi Parliament issued a letter to Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees requesting actions based on U.N. and U.S. commitments to provide protection for Camp Liberty residents, members of the Iranian opposition.

This letter reads in part:

Hence, we the MPs of the Muttahedoon parliamentary group, with 21 seats in the Parliament, are insisting you take the most urgent action and coordination necessary with the GOI and U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to have protective measures completed for the facilities belonging to these refugees in Liberty. Otherwise, we may face a grimmer catastrophe than those witnessed to this day, which of course can be prevented; especially since they are stationed in Camp Liberty, located near Baghdad International Airport, these refugees have come under numerous heavy rocket attacks for the sole reason of being members of a well-known Iranian opposition group. Dozens of these refugees have been murdered and hundreds left wounded and injured as a result of these attacks. The latest and strongest such attack came back in 29 October 2015 during which 24 refugees lost their lives. According to evaluations and credible technical reports of this crime, one reason for the high casualty rate in this attack is the absence of an adequate defensive and protective system in this camp. The living quarters in Liberty lack any T-walls and enough cement bunkers needed for the residents’ protection.

It was according to this evaluation that the completion of cement T-walls for all the facilities in this camp was placed on the agenda. Under international pressures and public opinion protesting these failures in protection, finally the Government of Iraq (GOI) agreed with the transfer of T-walls into the camp by the residents and at their own expense. But unfortunately, the T-wall installation process was stopped without any explanation after only 1,000 were transferred into Liberty. This camp, formerly belonging to the Americans, had 17,500 T-walls prior to the transfer of these refugees to Liberty in 2012. However, the then GOI, led by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, quickly removed all the T-walls from the camp and effectively left these refugees defenseless in the face of lethal rocket attacks.

Therefore, necessary protective measures for this camp must be carried out immediately without losing any time.

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