Strasbourg, 25.01.2012 – In a statement adopted today at its meeting in Strasbourg, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on the Iraqi authorities not to turn Camp Liberty into a prison, and called on the UNHCR to begin its work in Ashraf and end the delay in affirming the refugee status of the residents there.
While the international community is planning to find a peaceful solution for Ashraf and the residents are helping to make it come true through the relinquishment of their certain rights, the Iranian regime is planning for the failure of this solution through the Iraqi government.
The initial area allocated to the residents in Camp Liberty has reduced by 80 times and the living conditions in the camp are far less than initially proposed. The limited area is becoming enclosed by concrete walls; it is insisted that Iraqi police should be present inside the camp; freedom of movement is not allowed; there are increasing restrictions for the residents such as not being allowed to transfer their vehicles to Camp Liberty and to send a team of Ashraf technicians in order to assess the conditions of the camp. This will be a forcible relocation to a prison.
The Committee urges the Iraqi government to abandon the obstructions and to implement the international laws and standards with all details in the relocation of the residents to Camp Liberty, and urges the UNHCR to defend the resident’s rights within the laws and to immediately start its work in Ashraf, and not wait until Liberty Camp is ready, in order to expedite the resident’s resettlement in third countries.
We encourage Council of Europe member and observer states to consider positively the resettlement demands of Ashraf residents.