HUFF POST – David Amess 24 February 2012
A letter signed by 110 cross-party MPs and Peers was on Thursday delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Lancaster House urging him to ensure United Nations protection for 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
The letter which was supported by senior Parliamentarians including Former Home Secretary Lord Waddington QC, former Labour Party chairman Lord Clarke of Hampstead, former House of Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd, LibDem deputy leader Lord Dholakia, Lord Carlile of Berriew QC (former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation), former Lord Advocate for Scotland Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC, Sir Roger Gale MP, Stephen McCabe MP, Brian Binley MP, and Sir Bob Russell MP.
The Parliamentarians expressed “deep concern regarding the relocation of the first group of 400 residents of Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty”, a former US base near Baghdad airport now a de facto prison used by Iraq to house the dissidents.
The MPs and Peers’ letter said: “A group of 400 residents showed utmost flexibility and prepared themselves to move to Camp Liberty on 17 February. This was at a time when many basic necessities at the new camp were clearly lacking. This gesture of goodwill by these residents was responded to by the Iraqi government ordering its police at the new camp to be offensive and hostile.”
“Iraqi forces in the presence of UN monitors prevented the residents from transferring medication and medical supplies, a generator, office equipment including chairs, tables and photocopiers, a water heater and hygiene products.
“Camp Liberty, contrary to UNAMI’s 31 January statement, does not conform to international standards from the point of view of infrastructure. Upon arrival residents found that there was no electricity or water and its hygienic services were filthy and unusable.
“With Mrs Rajavi having convinced the residents to accept this risky transfer, the current conditions at the camp are totally unacceptable. We expect the United Nations, with the support of the US government and the European Union to make a clear stand against the limitations that the Iraqi government is imposing on the residents. The UN, US and EU must ensure the human rights of the residents are met. UNAMI cannot justify a stance which is clearly not neutral as a result of Iraqi pressure.
“We urge you firstly to ensure that the Iraqi police station and its forces leave the camp and are stationed outside the perimeter of it. Furthermore, you must guarantee the safety and well being of the residents by ensuring they have direct and free access to medical services and that their freedom of movement is secured. UNAMI must keep the gates of Camp Liberty open to reporters, lawyers and the families of the residents.
“In such circumstances there can be no further transfer of residents to Camp Liberty until such time as the current 400 residents at Camp Liberty have been safely transferred to third party states”, the letter said.
David Amess Member of Parliament for Southend West and member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom