European lawmakers reiterate their full support for Ashraf Camp residents and a peaceful solution

Press Release  16 December 2011

380 Euro MPs (an actual majority) have added their names to a joint declaration (attached), in a strong denunciation of the decision of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to shut down Ashraf camp by end of this month and the forcible displacement of the people to other places inside Iraq. They have called for UN forces to be deployed to protect the residents until they are transferred to third countries. Any security arrangements and “protection” provided by Iraq is absolutely not acceptable. All stages of the UNHCR interview and registration process must be undertaken under the protection of US or UN troops.

The forcible displacement of the people of Ashraf to other parts of Iraq has been condemned by the European Parliament in its resolution on Ashraf adopted on 24 April 2009. Thousands of parliamentarians around the world as well as the most senior politicians in Iraq, including Iraq’s Vice-President, the Speaker of the Parliament and the Deputy Prime Minister, have rejected their forcible relocation and the violation of their most basic rights.

The tireless efforts of Mrs Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian resistance to find a peaceful solution are very much appreciated. As she recently wrote to the UN Secretary General: “Our goal is to save the lives of residents of Ashraf. They are the biggest treasure of the Iranian people. That is why the Iranian regime is determined to destroy them.”

After my visit to Iraq and my discussions with Mrs Rajavi in Paris, she convinced the residents of Ashraf to accept the European Parliament’s proposal for resettlement in third countries despite their initial reluctance. In addition, she proposed 7 alternative plans and options. She has rightly insisted that a forcible displacement inside Iraq without the protection of the USA or UN is a prelude to massacre.

In these circumstances, blaming the residents and leadership of Ashraf and the officials of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) for their opposition to forcible displacement without international protection and guarantees, is very irresponsible indeed and would only justify the repressive actions of Mr Maliki. We in the European Parliament can testify that there has been maximum co-operation from the PMOI/MEK in wishing to rescue their colleagues in Ashraf. Allegations that they are determined to remain in Ashraf are completely untrue and are a justification for their massacre.

Mr Maliki uses the “sovereignty” of Iraq as a pretext for killing the people of Ashraf. The Iraqi government publicly says that these people have no legal status and therefore no rights. Sovereignty entails responsibility to protect all those living in the state. Iraq has violated its obligation. Therefore, according to the Principle of Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) adopted by the UN in 2005, it is the obligation of the International community and UN to take necessary measures to protect the residents of Ashraf. What we have in Iraq at the moment is, in reality, the “sovereignty” of the Iranian regime.

Struan Stevenson MEP
President of European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq


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