HUFF POST – By Lord Maginnis 26 Feb, 2012
At a major event in London’s Queen Elizabeth II conference centre on Saturday, attended by 1,000 Anglo-Iranians, senior British jurists and MPs and US military experts called on the United Nations to intervene immediately to save the lives of 3,400 Iranian dissidents at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq. They described Camp Liberty as a prison and called for the 400 Ashraf residents who recently relocated to Liberty to be immediately returned to Camp Ashraf or transferred to third countries by the UN.
Speakers at the conference included: David Amess MP (Con); Lord Clarke of Hampstead, former Labour Party Chairman; Dr. Matthew Offord MP (Con); myself; Lord King of West Bromwich (Lab); Gen. David Phillips (US), former Chief of Military Police and former Commander of all Police Operations in Iraq, which included the protection of Camp Ashraf; Col. Wes Martin (US), former Antiterrorism/Force Protection Officer of all Coalition forces in Iraq, and base Commander for Camp Ashraf; Professor Sara Chandler, Chair of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee; Geoffrey Robertson QC, former President of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone; Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, distinguished Professor from Oxford and expert in refugee matters in international affairs; Christina Rees, member of the General Synod of the Church of England and Chair of Watch (Women and the Church); Martha Jean Baker, representing the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); Malcolm Fowler, of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee; Lady Corbett, wife of the late Lord Corbett of Castle Vale; and Dowlat Nowrouzi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Conference chair David Amess MP said: “Camp Liberty is nothing but a prison. It is not a refugee camp. There are armed police inside the camp threatening the residents. There are surveillance cameras and sound bugs installed all around the camp to spy on the residents. There is no water at the camp. There is no electricity. And there is no basic infrastructure. The residents were not allowed to inspect the site before going there.
“Despite all the residents’ goodwill to go there to begin the process of having the UNHCR re-confirm their refugee status, there has been a systematic effort to lay blame for the appalling situation at Camp Liberty on the residents themselves. But we will not remain silent against such demonization”, Amess said.
Lord Clarke said: “We demand to know who is behind the demonization of the camp residents. We plan to create an investigative committee to find out who okayed the infrastructure and conditions of the camp for the first 400 residents to be transferred. We will expose the motives of those who knew about the conditions of the camp but still approved the residents’ transfer, not least because we had warned time and again that the relocation of Ashraf residents to Liberty without minimum assurances by the UN and US would lead to great dangers and could be misused by the mullahs’ regime in Iran”.
Gen. Phillips described Camp Liberty as a “horrid gulag” and “concentration camp”, and he urged the UN and US to intervene to prevent further violations of the rights of the residents there.
Lord King said: “We demand that the 400 residents at Camp Liberty are either immediately returned to Ashraf or transferred to third countries. But we will not accept their current worse-than-prison-like treatment. And we demand the immediate removal of all police, cameras and spying equipment from Liberty”.
Col. Wes Martin said that the truth at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty was being trampled upon for the sake of appeasing the Iranian regime.
Speaking for the Law Society, Sara Chandler said: “The Law Society is committed to seeking the protection of the residents of Ashraf. We have seen the photos of [Camp] Liberty. It’s a prison camp. It can’t be called Liberty. It’s a concentration camp. An investigation needs to discover and expose what kind of decision-making took place to create this abomination. We need to know what the participation of the United Nations was in the setting up of this camp”.
Lord Maginnis.Member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom