Following Recognition of Rights of Ashraf Residents as “Asylum Seekers” by UNHCR, UN Observers should be Stationed in Ashraf until Resettlement is Finalized
Maryam Rajavi: Deployment of a permanent observing team, recognition of refugee status of all residents, and pressing the Iraqi government to cancel the 2011 deadline, are three necessary measures to protect Ashraf
In an international conference held in Geneva on Thursday, September 22 by the Swiss Committee in Defense of Ashraf, prominent European and American dignitaries and personalities expressed their deep concerns about intentions of the Iranian regime and the Iraqi government against residents of Ashraf and especially the illegally set deadline of December 2011 for closing the camp. The conference called on the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commission for Refugees and UN High Commission for Human Rights as well as the United States to take immediate measures to provide protection for Camp Ashraf and prevent repeat of similar massacres of the past and also press the Iraqi government to cancel the 2011 deadline until the resettlement to third countries of all residents is finalized.
The conference takes place at a time when UNHCR in a statement on 13 September declared that all residents of Ashraf are “Asylum Seekers” and should be protected and facilitated for according to international law. In a conference at the United Nations on 21 September, senior members of European Parliament, human rights advocates and NGOs stressed that UN observers should be stationed at Ashraf until completion of all UNHCR work and finalization of the transfer of all residents to third countries.
The conference emphasized that at a time when the Iranian regime is seriously at work, preparing the grounds for another attack on Ashraf, it is most urgent that efforts be made to safe guard the residents of the camp and to prevent another humanitarian crisis.
Lack of action by pertinent international organizations, the US and the European Union in dealing with this crisis has allowed the mullahs’ regime and its collaborators in Iraq to commit crimes against Ashraf for the past two years. The attacks in July 2009 and the massacre of April 2011 left forty seven dead and one thousand seventy one more wounded. The conference participants particularly criticized the US for not fulfilling the commitment of protection that was signed with each individual residents of Ashraf in return for turning over their weapons. The conference participants reiterated that the US bares full responsibility in case of another massacre and blood bath in the camp. The conference also called on the US President and the State Department to remove PMOI (People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran – MeK) from the terrorist list as the first necessary step towards guaranteeing the safety of the residents of Ashraf.
The speakers in the conference included; Madame Maryam Rajavi, the President elect of the Iranian Resistance, Mr. Rudi Giuliani, former mayor of New York and a 2008 presidential candidate, Edward Randal, former Governor of Pennsylvania (2002 – 2011) and former Chairman of Democratic Party (2000), Judge Michael Mukasey, former US Attorney General (2007 – 2009), John Bruton, former Prime Minister of Ireland (1997 – 2004) and the Ambassador of European Union to the US (2004 – 2005), General James Conway, Commander of US Marine Corps (2006 – 2010) and Commander of US Marine corps in Iraq , Louis Ferry, Director of FBI (1993 – 2001), Günter Verheugen , European Commissioner (1999- 2009) and former German Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, head of strategy development for the US State Department (2003 – 2005), and a number of European Parliamentarians including Jean-Charles Rielle, Eric Voruz, Eric Barthassat (Swiss), Senator Giorgio Bornacin (Italy), Dr. Matthew Offord (UK), Remy Pagani, Member of Geneva Administrative Council. The conference was initiated by remarks from Nils Dedardel, Lawyer and Co-president of Swiss Committee in Defense of Ashraf and presented by Eric Sottas, former General Secretary of World Organization against Torture.
In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi stated that, “The mullahs’ regime is facing crisis in four fronts. Namely, a deeply frustrated and angry society that is ready to burst, the Arab spring and the dismantling of its front in the region, an ever growing economic crisis, and the infighting among its different factions. Despite these realities and despite the heroic uprisings of the Iranian people, the regime is still in power for two main reasons; its unprecedented suppression apparatus and the active and unequivocal international support, especially from the western governments.”
Mrs. Rajavi stressed that, “By branding PMOI as terrorists and tolerating the Iranian regime and its proxies’ activities against Ashraf, the West is has practically participated in suppression of the Iranian people and has acted as the key element preventing any change in Iran.”
Mrs. Rajavi added, “The situation, as far as Ashraf is concerned, adds to the responsibilities of the United Nations. Especially after the partial recognition of the rights of the residents by the UNHCR, the Secretary General and the Commission for Human Rights should take the initiative to protect Ashraf residents. This is a mission that will certainly receive support from many countries and parties in the international arena.” Mrs. Rajavi stressed that, “Even if the United States would refrain from protecting the UN team in Ashraf, the Iranian Resistance is ready to provide the budget necessary to protect them.”
Mrs. Rajavi stated three urgent measures to be taken to protect Ashraf:
1- The Secretary General, UNAMI and the High Commissioner of Human Rights to put Ashraf under their permanent observation by stationing a team of observers at the camp.
2- UNHCR to recognize the refugee status of all residents as fast as possible.
3- The United States to participate in provisioning and guaranteeing the rights and protections stressed on the 13 September statement of UNHCR and press Iraq to cancel the deadline to close Ashraf.”
Secretariat of National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 22, 2011