A number of non-governmental human rights organizations, European parliamentarians, and international lawyers met on Wednesday September 21 at the UN European Headquarters in Geneva and warned about another imminent Srebrenica-like massacre at Camp Ashraf and called for an urgent measure for protection of its residents.
The speakers to the conference were: Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament; Struan Stevenson, President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq in the European Parliament (presenter of European proposal for Ashraf crisis);Ruth N. Wedgwood , jurist; Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former prime minister of Algeria; Nontombi Tutu, human rights activist and the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Christiane Perregaux, co-President of the Legislative Council in Geneva; Gianfranco Fattorini, Co-Chair of Movement against Racism and for Friendship among the Peoples (MRAP); Marc Falquet, Member of Geneva Parliament; and Daniel Neeser, pastor. The conference was presided over by Michel Joli, Secretary General of Mitterrand Foundation (France Libertés).
Below speech by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi at Victoria Hall – Geneva
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have gathered here today in Geneva, the city of human rights, the city of international organizations, conventions and of international law and the city where Professor Kazem Rajavi, the great martyr of resistance gave his life for the human rights in Iran.
Yes, we are here to discuss a most serious issue of human rights and a major violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.
We are here to speak about the big prison called Iran, where 80 million people are under the mullahs’ suppression every day. We are here to speak about Ashraf where for nearly nine years its residents have been under house arrest and their rights have been trampled on every day.
This situation requires a serious and urgent response by international authorities and governments.
Fortunately, I see here our dear friends from Switzerland, and much respected personalities from the United States, Germany, Italy, Britain, Ireland and other countries who are at the forefront of the fight against this injustice.
I salute you all.
A group of the participants in the sit-in outside the UN are also among us.
It’s been 150 days that they have stood outside the offices of the UN to support Ashraf.
At this moment, thousands of Iranians are demonstrating against the presence of Ahmadinejad at the United Nations in New York.
They are protesting that this murderer is not a representative of the people of Iran in the UN.
I say to them and to you here, that the Iranian people are proud of you, the people of the world are proud of you.
You are flag bearers of freedom and human rights in Iran.
Yesterday, in a meeting at the UN, I insisted on your request for protection of Ashraf.
UNHCR has declared that Ashraf residents are under international law asylum seekers and should benefit from essential protections.
Certainly this is a positive step but it is not enough and the UNHCR must continue in this issue.
Therefore, in order to prevent another massacre, the UN Secretary General should now declare Ashraf a non-military zone under the supervision of the United Nations.
He should also order the stationing of UN observers in Ashraf.
At the same time the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights must begin an independent, transparent and comprehensive investigation into the attack of 8 April as soon as possible.
These are vital measures because the Iraqi government insists on its ultimatum to close Ashraf until the end of 2011, every day.
Implementation of these duties by the UN will not only benefit the Iranian people, but will also lend credibility to the UN before the peoples of the Middle East.
The issue of Ashraf is at the center of a greater crisis, namely the Iranian crisis.
This issue reflects the resistance of the Iranian people for freedom on one hand, and reveals the precarious situation of the Iranian regime on the other.
The clerical regime is encircled by a four dimensional crisis:
First, Iranian society is deeply dissatisfied. We all witnessed the uprisings Orumieh and Tabriz (northwest Iran) three weeks ago despite extensive repression.
Second, the revolutions in the region have increased the danger of an uprising in Iran. They have also accelerated the disintegration of the Iranian regime’s regional alliances.
Third, the economic collapse of the regime has hiked the inflation rate to 20%, unemployment is 17%, economic growth is close to zero, and the country’s industrial base operates at only 30% of capacity.
Fourth is the internal crisis within the leadership of the regime, particularly the confrontation between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, which is described by the ruling mullahs as the worst schism within the regime since its rise to power.
About two weeks ago, Khamenei told a meeting of his Council of Experts: “In about eight months… four dictators” have been toppled. “It makes us tremble,” he added.
In another secret meeting with his national security council, Khamenei said: “If we do not go toward the borders, then the borders will come to us.”
Now the key question is why the mullahs have still not fallen with all these crises around them? Why, despite the Arab spring, uprisings have not restarted in Iran? Particularly since the events of 2009 and 2011 put away the illusion of popular support for the mullahs.
The Iranian people, especially the youth, are deeply opposed to this regime.
The Iranian people have made enormous sacrifices in their fight against dictatorship. Over 120,000 executions of Iran’s bravest patriots is evidence of this sacrifice. The end result of these sacrifices has been an organized movement with a democratic platform.
Still we must ask: why do the mullahs survive?
The first reason is that the repression practiced by this regime is incomparable to that of any modern dictatorship. This regime has organized 70 suppressive security agencies. In reality, the entire regime is a machine for suppression of the people. The highest authorities of the regime, for instance its president, Ahmadinejad, have been infamous torturers in Iran’s prisons.
The economy, the mass media, the mosques, and the courts are all part of this repressive system.
High schools are controlled by surveillance cameras. Universities look more like military garrisons. Religious fascism controls the most private of people’s lives and affairs.
The second reason has been the assistance of Western governments. If Western governments had not helped the mullahs this regime could not have survived. The word appeasement cannot fully describe this policy.
Because Western governments have on one hand blocked the path of the Iranian resistance movement with the terror list, and they have given a free hand to the regime and its allies in Iraq to act against the residents of Ashraf on the other. And at the same time they watch the wave of repression and executions in Iran in silence. They are practically active participants in the suppression of the Iranian people.
The Iranian people need an organized movement in the face of the brutal oppression meted out by the religious fascist regime to obtain its freedom.
Western policy has in effect assisted the regime in the suppression of this movement.
They have extended the life of the mullahs’ regime with the label of terrorism against its main opposition.
You remember the uprising of 2009 in Iran. Some say that the United States was neutral at the time.
Unfortunately this was not the case. Simultaneous with the uprisings in Iran, the United States transferred the protection of Ashraf in Iraq to a government loyal to Khamenei.
It was a huge gift to the mullahs. Without this transfer, Khamenei could not have attacked Ashraf in 2009 and the course of uprisings in Iran would have been quite different.
Some ask: what is the reason for this misguided policy?
The United States should answer why it continues its mistaken policy with immense harm to the Iranian people, why it persists to make the same mistake as it did in the coup against Dr. Mossadegh in 1953, as it did in its strong support for the Shah, and as it did in the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s.
In 1997 they listed the PMOI in their blacklist, because they wanted to strengthen illusory moderates within the religious fascistic regime in Iran.
In more recent years, the U.S. has shirked its responsibilities vis-à-vis residents of Ashraf to appease the mullahs’ regime and its allies in Iraq.
Some wonder why in Western governments impose sanctions on the mullahs on one hand and put pressure on the Iranian resistance movement on the other. Why this contradiction?
In reality, as long as Western governments hamper the Iranian Resistance, sanctions will not be serious or effective.
The PMOI is the force of change. When you enchain the force of change all other measures against the regime become ineffective.
In 2010, we see that eight European countries are among the top 15 exporters to Iran. They sold a total of 12,000 products to Iran; almost all of them were industrial products.
The mullahs build their military and nuclear industrial complex with these same products. Not to mention that the bulk of these are purchased by companies linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Fortunately, the Iranian Resistance has persevered despite all these pressures and has demonstrated its legitimacy and popular support.
Fortunately, the US Congress and Western parliamentarians and honorable personalities in the US and Europe have, contrary to their governments, participated in a huge campaign in support of Iranian people’s freedom and in defense of Ashraf.
They represent the dignity of humankind in our age and in contemporary history.
These highly respected persons truly represent Europe and the United States with their faithful defense of democracy and genuine human values.
The dictatorship in Iran is on decline and whatever government taints itself by supporting this regime will share in its destiny and will lose.
The removal of the PMOI from the U.S. State Department’s FTO list and ensuring the protection of Ashraf residents until final resolution of their status, are the most objective criterion to demonstrate where the United States stands in this struggle.
I also appeal to the Swiss government, as guardian of the Geneva Conventions, to take urgent measures to ensure the protection of Ashraf.
But despite all these pressures, there is no doubt that the mullahs’ dictatorship will be overthrown by the will of the Iranian people and their Resistance.
I see a day that Tehran will no longer be the capital of repression and export of terrorism. But it will be the city of human rights, an inspiration for equality of women and men, a city without executions or torture, an exemplary city for the United Nations and international organizations, and the city of freedom and democracy.
I believe in the coming of that day with all my heart.
Thank you very much.