MEPs call for action to end deadly siege on Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty, Iraq

Press release by European Parliament – Friends of a Free Iran
From Tuesday 12 August 2014, the Iraqi forces stationed outside Camp Liberty near Baghdad airport are preventing fuel entry to the camp where some 2800 defenceless refugees, including 800 women, members of the Iranian opposition PMOI, are being held in prison like conditions.

Due to restrictions imposed by the Iraqi government, Camp Liberty’s electricity is disconnected from the national grid and the electricity is only provided by electric generators running on fuel.

After two weeks of blockade, the remaining fuel has now run out. All the infrastructures and basic life affairs depend on the electricity that is provided by these generators.

As a result, since Tuesday morning 26 August, pumping of water to Camp Liberty has come to a complete halt. The air-conditioners in the camp have also stopped working.

Thus, in addition to the lack of electricity, the residents are now facing a great crisis of being deprived of water which will threaten their lives.

On Monday, 25 August, a number of residents, including a group of women, suffered heat stroke and were taken to the camp’s clinic in dire conditions. In such circumstances, with the extreme heat of Iraq, living in metal containers is unbearable and everyday there are residents who suffer heat stroke.

In the same period the Government of Iraq has prevented patients who had urgent surgery appointments in the hospital in Baghdad to exit the camp. One of the patients suffering from cancer is now in critical condition.

These refugees, who are all ‘protected persons’ under the 4th Geneva Convention, and their refugee status have once again been individually verified by the UNHCR, were transferred to Camp Liberty on specific assurances by UN, US and EU authorities that their safety and security would be upheld by the Iraqi authorities.

It is now time for US, UN and EU to take immediate measures to end this inhuman and deadly siege. Preventing access to electricity and water in the extreme 48 C° desert heat is a blatant case of crime against humanity whose perpetrators must be prosecuted.

Gérard Deprez, MEP
Chair, Friends of a Free Iran in European Parliament (FOFI)

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