Human right activists call for int”l protection to Camp Ashraf

GENEVA, Sept 24 (KUNA) – International lawyers and NGOs called Friday for international protection to the residents of Camp Ashraf through UN and US forces in Iraq according to the Geneva Conventions.

The camp, situated northeast of the Iraqi town of Khalis some 120 kilometers west of the Iranian border and 60 kilometers north of Baghdad, shelters Iranian refugees and elements of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), an anti-Iran leftist rebel group. On January 1, 2009, the U.S. forces in Iraq handed over the control of the camp to the Iraqi authorities.


Chaired by former Algerian prime minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali, the conference requested an urgent intervention by the UN Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to halt executions of political prisoners in Iran on charges of “Mohareb” or enemy of God.

The conferees called for alleviating the intolerable pressures on the residents of camp. They also called for the establishment of an international tribunal by the Security Council to try the perpetrators of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

The conference was held at the UN Office in Geneva upon a joint initiative by the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), the Foundation France-Libert{s (Danielle Mitterrand) and the Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), as well as eminent jurist, lawyers and defenders of human rights in various countries.

The participants said that there is a rise in repression, arrests and torture in Iran; many of the victims condemned to death are members and supporters of PMOI and relatives of the residents of Ashraf.

“Hundreds of members of families of PMOI members residing in Ashraf have been arrested in recent months and 11 of them have been sentenced to death as Mohareb or enemy of God, had previously visited their relatives in Ashraf,” they said.

“With the departure of U.S. forces from Ashraf that led to the departure of the UN observer team from the camp, the pressures and suppressive measures by Iraqi forces escalated against 3,400 Ashraf residents,” said key speakers at the conference.

They stressed that the residents of Ashraf, being “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, should receive the protection of UN and U.S. forces. “For the past 20 months they have been subjected to a blockade by the Iraqi armed forces. Among the key speakers were Juan Garc{s – lawyer for the families who filed a complaint against General Pinochet, and Professor Eric David – international law expert and former president of the Center of International Law at the Free University of Brussels (Belgium)

Abolghassem Rezai, deputy secretary of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), representing families of victims of the Iranian regime; Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i, Chairman of the NCRI’s Committee on Freedom of Religions and Denominations and Parviz Khazi, NCRI representative in Nordic countries also addressed the gathering.

Tony Kelam, an Estonian MEP and member of the European Parliament delegation that visited Ashraf, and Jean-Charles Rielle, Member of Swiss Federal Parliament, took part in the deliberations.


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