Alejo Vidal-Quadras-VP European Parliament on Camp Ashraf

Isdciran – Wednesday 6 June – Dear friends, I want to use my time to touch upon a few points.  First point  is the recent decision of the American Court.  As you have heard,  on 1 June 2012, the US Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make a decision on black listing of the main Iranian opposition, the  PMOI otherwise the court will remove it from the list.
This is a great victory for the Iranian resistance. We congratulate this victory to PMOI and NCRI, specially their members, supporters, and families in Camps Ashraf and Liberty and inside Iranian prisons, those who have suffered the most from this listing.

We also applaud Mrs Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI, for her leadership in this great campaign, setting a valuable judicial precedence and raising standards for justice in today’s world. It is now time for Europe and USA to recognise the political coalition, the NCRI, as a democratic alternative to this regime. The NCRI, formed in Tehran in 1981, has a secular program and strongly advocates the rights of women and minorities, rule of law and civil liberties. This is the most effective way we have to confront export of terrorism and sheer violations of human rights by the mullahs and their endeavour to acquire nuclear weapons.
I should mention that the US terror list paved the way for black listing the PMOI in Europe. As you know it took us several years to get them out of the EU list. This unjustified listing, during the past 15 years, has caused much harm inside Iran, in Ashraf, and also in the Iranian communities in the United States.  Many members, supporters and families of the organization have been executed or arrested and the authoritarian rulers of Iran have justified their doings using the terror tag.  Maliki’s government in Iraq also used this to stage two separate massacres in Camp Ashraf.
My second point is regarding camp Liberty. Around 2,000 Ashraf residents have, thus far, been transferred to Liberty but only about 350 of them have been interviewed by UNHCR. Thus far not even a single person has been transferred to a third country and no bright perspective is noticeable in that matter. The conditions at Liberty are grossly violating many of the minimum human rights and humanitarian standards. The residents do not have the right of passage, have no access to their lawyers, and their relatives are not permitted to enter Iraq or Liberty/Ashraf. Liberty is, by all means, a prison.
One of the Iraqi government’s excuses for violating these standards is that the UN envoy, Mr Martin Kobler has called Liberty a Temporary Transit Location (TTL), while according to UNAMI and the U.S. government, most of the residents will, under the optimum conditions, stay at Liberty for at least 2 years.  This is now used by the Maliki’s government to cover-up violations of human rights against Camp Ashraf and Liberty residents. Lack of humanitarian standards and continuous violation of human rights and violation of UNHCR-declared fundamental rights to health, peace of mind and freedom of movement, are justified by saying that “Liberty is a TTL”.  So this is not a temporary location and Liberty’s legal status must be recognised as a refugee camp.
My third point is regarding our frustration of the way the UN envoy, Martin Kobler has been dealing with this issue. As I recently wrote to the UN Secretary General, the recent trip to Tehran by Mr Kobler, his praise for the role of the mullahs  in the security of Iraq, and the reports received about the meeting of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence with him about PMOI have shocked us. Mr Kobler has allowed himself to involve the Iranian regime in the case of its own opponents. This is not acceptable to Ashraf and Liberty residents, to us, or to any honourable person. This must be condemned in the strongest possible way and must be stopped. This is while in the past six months since he has entered the scene, Mr Kobler has fulfilled all his commitments to the government of Iraq, but has failed to fulfil any of his commitments made to the residents of Ashraf. He does not even protest the continuous violation of the Memorandum of Understanding – MOU- that he himself has signed with the government of Iraq without the knowledge or approval of the residents and which does not contain the minimum conditions of Ashraf residents. It appears that his mission is to close Ashraf, take away the residents’ home, and send them to Liberty Prison at any price. This attitude is also very damaging for Mr Ban Ki-moon and for the reputation of the United Nations and we call on the Secretary General to seriously investigate the issue of Ashraf and Liberty.
My fourth and final point is that I wish to address the EU and the High Representative Baroness Ashton. We are very sorry of the fact that the EU has been in the side lines. The case of resettlement has not gone forward and as I said earlier, not even one person has left Liberty for Europe.  At the same time, instead of taking some responsibility towards the present inhuman situation of the residents in Liberty, Mrs Ashton keeps calling Liberty a transit location and does not listen to our numerous letters and criticisms of the way the UN envoy, Mr Kobler has been dealing with this case. Mrs Ashton’s special envoy and adviser for Ashraf, Ambassador Jean De Ruyt, was humiliated by the Iraqi government and was not even given a visa to go to Baghdad. Unfortunately Mr De Ruyt left his office in January and Mrs Ashton has not replaced him with a new envoy. This is very disappointing. We expect our High Representative to call on Iraqi government to stop the inhuman restrictions and blockade against Liberty residents. Instead of signing a huge economic deal with Iraq last month, she should have insisted on safeguarding the rights of these refugees. Especially after the very positive ruling in the American court, that should give her a new momentum for putting pressure on Iraq and at the same time to call on the European governments to accept a share of the refugees in Liberty. This is how we expect her to lead this process.
Thank you.

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