Former Canadian minister says US should protect Camp Ashraf

NCRI – In a speech on American foreign policy following the midterm elections, a former Canadian minister and prominent human rights figure told the World Affairs Council last week that the rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq must be guaranteed.

At a November meeting of the World Affairs Council, an institution comprised of 50 American and foreign ambassadors, Mr. David Kilgour, who was also a noble peace prize nominee for 2010, talked about a variety of diplomatic issues around China, the US, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

With regards to the Iranian regime, Mr. Kilgour said, “Iran is a country with immense human, cultural and hydrocarbon resources, but its people continue to be severely repressed by a government headed by a clerical Supreme Leader and president, who practise state terrorism, flaunt genocidal rhetoric, and are seeking to build nuclear weapons.”

He added that the US policy of appeasement towards the clerical regime, which was especially pursued by the current administration, has not produced any results and that “a much better and peaceful choice would be for the rule of law countries to begin working with all democratic opposition.”

Mr. Kilgour said the US decision to label the main Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as terrorist “is bad security policy,” and added, “Our allies in the EU removed it from their lists last year, following seven court decisions in Europe clearly ruling that the MEK cannot be designated as a terrorist organization. We are on this issue badly out of touch with our allies.”

In 2003, the US government pushed successfully for Ashraf residents to be declared “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, he said. But, transferring the protection of the residents to the Iraqi government has not been the right move because Iraq has failed to respect its obligations to ensure the residents’ rights.

Camp Ashraf in Iraq is home to about 1100 women and more than 2000 men, all of whom are long term refugees from Iran, and are members of the PMOI, he said.

Mr. Kilgour underscored the need for international measures to ensure the rights of Ashraf residents in accordance with international law and particularly emphasized the US government role in this regard.

He said, “In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt cautioned, “In the solution of the grave problems that face the world today, frank dealing, cooperation, and a spirit of give and take between nations is more important than ever before.” Now, seventy-four years later, FDR’s advice still serves us well.”

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