MPs demand UN Secretary General sack Iraq envoy Martin Kobler

 All-Party MPs and Peers from the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom on Monday strongly condemned the bogus presentation at the European Parliament last week by the United Nations envoy in Iraq Martin Kobler and urged the UN Secretary General to dismiss him.

Mr Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), told MEPs on 29 May that the leadership of the Iranian opposition PMOI had prevented its members in Camp Liberty, Iraq, from speaking with UN monitors. Addressing a meeting of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels, Mr. Kobler further claimed that the PMOI leadership in Paris was refusing to cooperate with the UN.

These outrageous lies were met with strong condemnation and rebuke from MEPs at the meeting, with calls for the UN Secretary General to fire Mr. Kobler.

Mr. Kobler failed to address the pressing and immediate issue of the residents’ security at Camp Liberty in light of the repeated and deadly rocket attacks on the residents in recent months. And he offered no convincing answer as to why Iraq was denying the residents the right to transfer their hard hats and protective vests from Camp Ashraf.

Contrary to Mr. Kobler’s claim that Liberty met international humanitarian standards, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has twice in the past year described the camp as a “prison.”

The Government of Iraq (GoI) does not allow the residents to leave the camp, nor does it allow their relatives, lawyers, MPs and journalists from entering the camp. Mr. Kobler has refused to press Iraq to grant freedom of movement to the residents and international access to the camp. On the contrary he has continuously praised the Iraqi government suppressive measures against the residents.

While Mr. Kobler claims that the PMOI leadership is failing to inform the camp residents of their future options, in fact the GoI has for more than a year prevented the residents from transferring most of their communications tools, such as mobile phones, to Camp Liberty. UNAMI, under the leadership of Mr. Kobler, has failed to make any public appeal to Iraq to lift this bar.

Contrary to Mr. Kobler’s bogus claims that UNAMI monitors have been restricted from speaking to Liberty residents, the UN has in recent months conducted hundreds of private interviews with the residents.

The UN must publicly demand of Iraq to lift its restriction on MPs and journalists wanting to visit Camp Liberty.

According to Iranian state-media, Mr. Kobler has discussed the future of Liberty residents with Iranian officials in his visit to Tehran, in violation of the rights of refugees under international law. Mr. Kobler has never publicly denied these reports.

Members of our cross-Party committee support the call on UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to sack SRSG Martin Kobler and appoint a specialist committee to investigate his conduct. We further demand that Camp Liberty residents be urgently returned to Camp Ashraf, their original home, which is 80 times larger and where their security against rocket attacks can be better guaranteed.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom 3 June 2013

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