France Libertes highlights Ashraf residents’ rights at UN session

A representative of France Libertes has spoken at the Human Rights Council session in Geneva against rights violations of the residents of Camp Ashraf, where Iranian dissidents reside in Iraq. The UN body started its session, chaired by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Monday and will continue until October 1.


Speaking at the session, Oretta Bandettini di Poggio of France Libertés – Foundation Danielle Mitterrand said it was important to promote human rights in times of crisis and emergency, as the High Commissioner had pointed out. She added the situation of Camp Ashraf in Iraq was among the examples that requires immediate attention and emphasized the imperative of UN intervention to ensure respect for Geneva Convention protections for the residents.

The inhabitants of the camp are legally protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United States should assume its legal responsibility to provide their protection, Poggio added.

She also said the situation with regards to Ashraf’s security is worsening but the international community has exercised silence. The High Commissioner should intervene to ensure the United Nations can guarantee the minimum protections contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention. The protection of the camp should be an integral part of the UNAMI mandate, she said.

Below is the excerpt of Ms. Poggio’s remarks:

Ms. High Commissioner, you correctly made an emphasis about respect for human rights especially with respect to providing to protection to vulnerable individuals facing danger as an urgent situation. I would like to thank you for your emphasis and share with you the situation of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. This is an issue that Ms. Mitterrand talked about last year at the session. The residents of the camp have lived there for the past 20 years and are legally recognized as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The United States government must assume the responsibility to protect them until the crisis has effectively ended in Iraq.

Ms. High Commissioner, I must reiterate that last October you warned the Iraqi government against any aggression against these inhabitants. But, sadly, the situation has not changed much since then. The silence of the international community has made circumstances much worst.

In the end, I remind you that the UN must provide them protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It must post an independent monitoring team at the camp along with the Commissioner’s representatives to report in detail about the camp’s developments and rights violations there. It should also ask the UN Security Council to include their protection as part of UNAMI’s mandate in Iraq. We are also asking the US government to enact measures immediately for the residents’ protection in accordance with Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. And, lastly, we ask the Iraqi government to protect the residents of Ashraf on the basis of international human rights laws.

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