Minimum assurances for PMOI members at Camp Liberty

Statement by the Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
Minimum assurances for PMOI members at Camp Liberty

Considering:

– legal entry of Ashraf residents, members of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), to Iraq in 1986 and their right to residence and asylum according to Iraq laws prior to 2002 (article 34 of the 1970 constitution / article 1 of amendment to political asylum law of 1971 / the 1978 law of foreigner residence and its subsequent revisions in 2000 and 2002);

– the July 16, 2006 letter of  Mr. Malik Dehan Hassan who was the Minister of Justice of Iraq in 2004 to Deputy Commander of MNF-I that the rights of their political refugees hold legal credibility and has been based on Iraq’s constitution at the time declared by the then Iraqi government through media in 1986; a matter that was also confirmed by 3230 Iraqi jurists and lawyers in January 2005, by PM Ibrahim Ja’afari and Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi in July 2005, and finally by 12,000 Iraqi lawyers and jurists in January 2006;

– CENTCOM press release of 17 May 2003 which reads: “Coalition forces have consolidated 2,139 tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery pieces, air defense artillery pieces and miscellaneous vehicles formerly in the possession of the Mujahedin-E-Khalq (MEK) forces….. The voluntary, peaceful resolution of the process by the MEK and the Coalition significantly contributes to the Coalition’s mission to establish a safe and secure environment for the people of Iraq”.
 
– Declaration of 2 July 2004 of MNF-I Commander that confirms the status of Ashraf residents on behalf of the United States as “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention and informing the International Committee of the Red Cross in this respect;

– agreement signed by the MNF-I, led by the United States, with each and every Ashraf resident in July and August 2004 that in return for consolidation of their military equipment and weaponry, and rejecting participation or support for terrorism, the U.S. would offer them protect until their final disposition;
– letter of 7 October 2005 of General Brandenburg regarding the rights and legal protections of Ashraf residents;

– forty-five legal opinions from 2003 until February 2012 by some of the most prominent world jurists regarding the undeniable rights of Ashraf residents;

– support for rights and protections of Ashraf residents by over 4,000 parliamentarians from 41 countries, including parliament majorities in 30 countries, that represent over one billion people of the world;

– the White House press release of 22 December 2008 regarding written assurances by the Iraqi government to the United States concerning humanitarian treatment of Ashraf residents in adherence to Iraq’s constitution and international obligations;

– the 23 December 2008 statement of U.S. State Department on “international standards and conventions that one would want to make sure that the Iraqis as well as any country around the world abided by” and that “We wanted to ensure that rights are protected, that any individuals, whether they are in Camp Ashraf or elsewhere, that their rights are protected whether they remain in Iraq or they end up elsewhere”;

– the press release by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq on 28 December 2008 that: “U.S. forces will maintain a presence at Camp Ashraf and will continue to assist the Government of Iraq in carrying out its assurances of humane treatment of the residents of Camp Ashraf”;

– letter of 4 March 2009 by Richard Schmierer on behalf of President Obama and reiterations by U.S. State Department spokesmen on 17 and 30 March 2009 concerning the international obligations of the Iraqi government regarding Ashraf residents.

Considering:

– the sixteen-month investigations by nine U.S. agencies of each and every Ashraf residents in 2003 and 2004 and that “senior American officials said extensive interviews by officials of the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had not come up with any basis to bring charges against any members of the group” (New York Times, July 27, 2004);

– successive rulings of UK high courts, European Court of Justice, and the French judiciary on the definite annulment of the terrorist designation of the PMOI, together with the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in July 2010 on the need to review State Department’s designation.

Recalling

– Ashraf residents welcoming and cooperating with Iraqi authorities and forces after the transition of security responsibility from US forces to Iraq in early 2009, and after over $10 million in buildings, facilities and equipment that were built and purchased by the residents at their own expense during the course of two decades were placed at their disposal,

– the stationing of an Iraqi government representative by the name of Mr. Saleem inside Ashraf before the July 28-29, 2009 attacks and his unfettered 24/7 access to all locations inside the camp
– the Iraqi government’s fingerprinting and verification of each and every Ashraf resident in the length of 5 days from April 5th to the 9th, 2009,

– private and individual interviews with all Ashraf residents conducted by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry in the Iraqi Army battalion base outside Ashraf’s fenced area, under the supervision of US forces and the ICRC from February 26th to April 22nd, 2009, during which 11 individuals decided to leave Ashraf and Iraqi government television aired their repentance with Iraqi security officials present at the scene on April 15th, 2009

– the inspection of all buildings, facilities, areas and individuals in Ashraf by police dog units in three days from April 18th, 19th and 20th, with the signed document available.

Recalling,

– three years of a cruel siege and collective detention enforced upon Ashraf residents by the Iraqi government,

– the massacres of July 2009 and April 2011 and other attacks, amounting to a total of 47 residents killed and 1,071 others injured, along with the deaths of 12 residents as a result of the medical blockade,

– confiscating around $15 million of Ashraf residents’ vehicles and belongings by the Iraqi government despite the fact they had already placed tens of millions of dollars of facilities and equipment at the Iraqi forces’ disposal free of charge,

– thousands of PMOI members during the past 26 years, through hard work and enormous expenses, created a modern city by the name of Ashraf out of a dry and harsh desert, along with a university, library, museum, hospital,

power station, cemetery, mosque, park, lake, sports and recreational facilities, cultural halls, industrial and trailer-building workshops, along with underground bunkers for their own protection against the Iranian regime’s continuous bombings and SCUD-B missile attacks.

In light of:

– Ashraf residents’ ongoing show of flexibility foregoing their legal rights of 26-year residence and asylum in Iraq,

– accepting the European Parliament plan to leave Iraq for a third country,

– presenting numerous plans in 2011 to US and UN officials for relocation inside Iraq with protection provided by US or blue-helmet forces, or even hiring private security firms at the residents’ own expense,

– presenting numerous plans to depart Iraq and settle in an area in a neighboring country, with the exception of Iran under the mullahs’ religious dictatorship,

– accepting the UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s advice on registering individual refugee petitions and announcing their readiness for individual and private interviews,

– accepting the US-UN plan to leave Ashraf on condition of minimum guarantees provided,

– and finally, the transfer of 400 Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty at the request Mrs. Maryam Rajavi,

President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, to show their good faith, without being able to take all their vehicles and moveable properties with them. Despite the fact that this relocation was irrelevant at a time when Ashraf residents had accepted the European Parliament plan to transfer to third countries,
especially since the UNHCR has been ready for 6 months to conduct the verification process, interviews and reconfirm their refugee status in a separated area of Ashraf. However, as the High Commissioner announced and has written to the Iraqi prime minister, Iraqi officials opposed and blocked this process. In her statement, Mrs. Rajavi stressed on the red line of Iranian Resistance members regarding their unwillingness to surrender before the religious fascism ruling Iran and its elements in Iraq.

Considering:

– UN Secretary-General’s underscoring in his report to Security Council on 7 July 2011 that: “I call upon 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”;

– UN Secretary-General’s specifying in his report to Security Council on 5 December 2011  about “humanitarian obligations under international law”, and “The United Nations is committed to doing its utmost to help address this humanitarian issue in a way that fully respects Iraqi sovereignty and international law and that is acceptable to all concerned”;

– Mr. Martin Kobler’s assertions in the Security Council on 6 December 2011 that: “Any workable solution must be acceptable to both the government of Iraq and to the residents of Camp Ashraf. The solution must respect the Iraqi government on the one hand and applicable International humanitarian, human rights and refugee law on the other hand”;

– Secretary-General’s emphasizing “voluntary relocation” and that “the agreement lays the foundation for a peaceful and durable solution to the situation, respecting both the sovereignty of Iraq and its international humanitarian and human rights obligations”.

Currently, in light of:

– the proven influence of the Iranian regime in Iraq’s security, administrative and judicial apparatus;

– the stationing of military and security forces outside the camp, and full control over all entrances and exits, which fully enforces “Iraqi sovereignty” over Camp Liberty;

– installation of numerous cameras and tapping devices which lead to the Iranian regime and seriously endanger the security of the residents and their families;

The illegitimate and widespread presence of soldiers armed with rifles within the camp and an area that is entirely encircled by high concrete walls, will only be a source of tension and even infiltration of the terrorist Quds Force.

And by taking into account that:

– the residents’ prohibition of freedom of movement outside the camp;

– no access to lawyers;

– Prohibition on the entrance of families, reporters, human rights activists and parliamentarians to the location;

– the extremely tight area;

– the lack of water, especially drinking water;

– shortage of electricity and malfunction of power generators;

– dilapidated sewage system and its constant leakage throughout the camp’s surface;

– lack of unfettered access to medical services for the residents, and the Iraqi forces’ delays and obstructions in transferring patients to specialist hospitals;

The inhumane conditions at Camp Liberty are in any view similar to a prison. Many of UNAMI’s commitments and pledges made by the Secretary General’s Special Representative to the residents and their representatives have been breached. The Liberty residents addressed Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a 20 February letter and wrote: “We arrived at Camp Liberty today against our free will and under the threat of a new massacre in Ashraf. We have been effectively forcibly evicted from our home without any justification, and displaces without adequate remedy. We underwent a humiliating search in Camp Ashraf which lasted eleven hours and constantly being verbally abused by Iraqi forces.”

Making homeless and forcible relocation is unacceptable. Accordingly, the Liberty residents have come to the conclusion that without the guarantee of their minimum assurances, the only solution to prevent the degeneration of the status quo is their return to Ashraf.

The minimum, legitimate and legal assurances, which have been numerously reiterated in Mrs. Rajavi’s statements, including the 21 December 2011 statement, which must be signed and guaranteed by all parties, are issues that have no contradiction with the Iraqi Government’s sovereignty, and disagreement with them is an obvious sign of ominous intentions to force to its knees and annihilate the Iranian opposition or to massacre the Ashraf residents.
 
These assurances were declared by Struan Stevenson, President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, in seven points on February 17th, and sponsored by 4000 parliamentarians and thousands of lawyers and jurists from Europe, the US and Arab countries.

Minimum Assurances- 24 February 2012

Based on the spirit of UNHCR’s February 1st statement, the temporary transition camp (Camp Liberty) should be recognized as a ‘refugee camp’ with clear distinction from a ‘detention center’.

1. All armed forces and the police station should be taken out of the camp. Espionage cameras and eavesdropping devices must be removed completely. Unarmed police may enter the camp upon coordination with the residents.
 
2. Direct and free access of the residents to medical services in Iraq, their lawyers and families, and UN’s 24/7 monitoring in Camp Liberty.
 
3. Freedom of movement for the residents; otherwise, the area of the camp should be increased and the residents should bear no restriction to construct the facilities they need at their own expense.
 
4. Transfer of the vehicles and movable assets from Ashraf to Liberty without any limitations to be sold or transferred abroad, through IOM or private companies all at the expense of the residents, and selling immovable assets in Ashraf under UN supervision and repaying the money for the expenses of transfer and resettlement in third countries.

5. Providing reasonable infrastructure for the residents including for water used for drinking and services, electricity, appropriate sewage system and necessary sanitary services.
 
6. Guaranteeing safety and security of all residents with no exception until their resettlement in third countries by UN, U.S. and GOI such that no one is arrested and is not transferred to any other location against his/her will.

7. In order to avoid Liberty to become a prison, it is imperative that the above items be implemented. If these conditions are not met, specifically if the police continue to remain in the camp, Liberty is already a failed experience and the transfer of other residents to Liberty is not possible. In any case, according to the ‘revolving door’ procedure that the UNHCR is willing, new groups of resident will be transferred only when the current 400 residents have been resettled in third countries.
 
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 24, 2012

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