I join the UNHCHR, EU, other countries around the world and human rights organizations and personalities to deplore strongly the Iraqi forces’ violent attacks against the defenseless and unarmed residents of Camp Ashraf on April 8th, 2011 which left 35 residents killed and hundreds of others wounded. Concerns exist that if the UN does not immediately assume the protection of the residents, Iraqi authorities will carry out yet another armed attack against Ashraf residents.
The proposal presented by the European Parliament is a peaceful and viable solution for Camp Ashraf, and I hope that the United Nations, the US and EU would assist in the implementation of this plan as they all have expressed their concern for the human rights and dignity of the residents of Ashraf to be preserved.
Conditions that coincide with Ashraf residents’ rights under International Law and the Geneva Conventions must be realized for the grounds to be set to reach a permanent solution for the crisis in Ashraf. Until the full implementation of the European Parliament plan and during the transitional period, attempts by the US government,UN,EU are necessary to have the following preconditions accomplished:
1. The military occupation of Camp Ashraf must be brought to an end;
2. The 2-year-long inhumane siege against Camp Ashraf by the Iraqi government must be lifted. The camp’s gates must be opened to members of the residents’ families and their lawyers to visit the residents;
3. An independent investigation be carried out by a representative appointed by the UN on the April 8th attack against Camp Ashraf and the crimes committed inside the camp as has been called for by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner. I fully support the prosecution of the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity in Camp Ashraf; and
4. Ashraf’s security and protection must be guaranteed with the reopening of the
UN monitoring office (UNAMI) in Ashraf.
The compulsory relocation of 3,400 unarmed refugees is illegal and violates UN standards and International Law and International Humanitarian Law provisions. It is very clear to me that relocation inside Iraq not only falls short of guaranteeing the end of repression and killing of Ashraf residents; in fact it places them in the midst of even greater threats. Therefore, compulsory relocation is not a realistic and practical solution, and in practice can only be preparations for another killing spree.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Cape Town – South Africa)