On Thursday, August 11, a number of prominent American and European scholars, officials and political figures convened to express their concerns over a lack of effective measures by the UN and its pertinent bodies to prevent the recurrence of another Srebrenica in Ashraf. The meeting called on the United Nations and its relevant institutions to interfere and take the initiative to solve this humanitarian crisis by resorting to urgent action. Drawing on twenty-two legal opinions that demonstrate that International Law, International Humanitarian Law, and many other international conventions side with Ashraf, the meeting emphasized that the support of thirty parliament majorities in the world, support of U.S. Congressmen, and support of many Iraqi officials and political leaders who urge an urgent humanitarian solution to the Ashraf crisis, all lend support to the endeavors of the United Nations to resolve this crisis.
Below is the Speech by Maryam Rajavi in the UN – Geneva
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to meet you today.
Allow me to being my remarks by honoring the memory of Prof. Kazem Rajavi, the great martyr to the cause of human rights in Iran, who was assassinated by terrorists dispatched from Tehran very close to this city.
He used to visit this building quite often in defense of human rights and many of you knew him personally.
The mullahs ruling Iran are the enemies of human rights and hence the enemies of the United Nations.
They refuse to be accountable for their crimes and they have not recognized UN’s special reporter for human rights on Iran and do not let him to go to Iran.
Just in the first six months of this year, the mullahs have executed 200 prisoners. The regime’s prosecutor general said that 45 were hanged on security-related charges.
These are only those who have been announced officially by the regime whereas the real figure is much higher.
This meeting’s topic is of course Camp Ashraf, a very sensitive human rights issue.
The United Nations and its agencies bear heavy responsibility vis-à-vis the current predicament of Camp Ashraf and can avert another catastrophe.
Mrs. Pillay was among the first officials calling for a transparent and impartial instigation into the April 8 attack. But, no specific action has been taken in this respect.
The UN has done nothing to end the medical siege imposed on the residents and the 19-month psychological torture with the use of 300 loudspeakers.
The UN can initiate a peaceful and lasting solution to this crisis. There are many factors which assist the UN in this humanitarian mission.
Twenty-two legal opinions affirm that international law, international humanitarian law and many international conventions favor the case of the residents of Ashraf. In addition, widespread international support contributes to the UN mission. Majorities in 30 parliaments worldwide have declared their support for the UN intervening in defense of Camp Ashraf.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which makes it the policy of the United States to prevent the forcible displacement of the residents of Ashraf and facilitate the active and robust presence of UN monitors at Ashraf.
To this end, many Iraqi officials, including the Parliament Speaker, the Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and political leaders have voiced support for the rights of the residents of Ashraf, rejected internal displacement and endorsed the European Parliament plan to relocate the residents of Ashraf in third countries.
It also had the blessing of Baroness Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and a number of European governments.
On April 15, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged different countries to assist in transferring the residents of Ashraf to third countries. And in his recent report to the Security Council, the UN Secretary General called on “Member States to help to support and facilitate the implementation of any arrangement that is acceptable to the Government of Iraq and the camp residents.”
The UN conduct in several major crises testifies to the fact that wherever the UN has taken an active role and utilized its capabilities it has been able to prevent major humanitarian crises or reduce their scale. And wherever it has failed to play its role or live up to its responsibilities nothing has hindered intransigent powers to cause catastrophes.
Former US President Bill Clinton wrote in his memoirs that inaction vis-à-vis the horrific genocide in Rwanda “With a few thousand troops and help from our allies…we could have saved lives. The failure to try to stop Rwanda’s tragedies became one of the greatest regrets of my presidency.”
On 2000, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said : if humanitarian intervention is, indeed, an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that affect every precept of our common humanity?”
In closing, let me summarize the responsibilities of UN agencies regarding the crisis in Ashraf:
1. The establishment of a United Nations monitor at Ashraf to observe the situation;
2. The UNHCR’s reaffirmation of the prima facie or group determination of political refugee status of residents of Ashraf, even on an interim basis, so that the residents would enjoy protection under international law and a protective shield against Maliki. The Iraqi Prime Minister justifies attacks by Iraqi forces under the pretext that the residents of Ashraf have no legal status now, despite living in Iraq legally for quarter of a century;
3. The immediate commencing of investigations into the April 8 massacre under the auspices of the United Nations;
4. Compelling the Iraqi Government to announce compliance with the call by the UN Secretary General to refrain from any use of force or violence, to end the inhumane siege and the psychological torture of the residents and to withdraw the military forces from Ashraf, where 1,000 Muslim women are living;
5. International support for the European Parliament solution to transfer the residents of Ashraf to third countries and provide and the guarantee their protection until that transfer is completed.
Thank you all very much.
Thursday, 11 August 2011