Law Society: US and UK must step in to prevent further bloodshed in refugee camp

Press Release

Date Published: 10/05/2011

The Law Society is calling on the UK and US governments to take all available steps to prevent further attacks by Iraqi forces on Camp Ashraf – a refugee camp in Iraq which is home to thousands of Iranian refugees.

An attack on Camp Ashraf by Iraqi military forces in April saw 34 killed and 300  wounded. This followed previous attacks in 2009.

The Law Society Council last week passed a resolution condemning the attacks, demanding an end to the gross violations of international law and calling on the US, UK and international community to prevent further attacks and ensure the camp’s residents were protected as per the Geneva Convention.

Law Society President Linda Lee says:

“The Law Society seeks to promote the rule of law, which includes compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. The attacks by the Iraqi authorities on the refugee camp, Camp Ashraf, in 2009 and again 2011 represent a repeated violation of those fundamental principles with fatal consequences for the residents.

“These attacks, by an internationally recognised government, are deplorable, barbaric acts against a group of people unable to defend themselves and who have rights enshrined in international law. We urge the US State Department and UK Foreign Office to do all they can to prevent this happening again.”

Camp Ashraf is home to approximately 3,400 Iranian refuges, including 1,000 women, many of whom have lived at the Camp for over two decades. Of the 300 wounded, it is understood that more than 170 have sustained gunshot wounds, many of whom may die without urgent medical attention.

The Law Society is concerned that there will be a repeat of this type of incidence unless international condemnation is mobilised and if necessary steps taken to establish an international presence at the camp.

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