Strasbourg, 15.11.2011 – In a statement adopted today at its meeting in Paris, the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), calls on the Iraqi authorities to prevent humanitarian disaster and human rights violations at Camp Ashraf:
“The Committee is concerned about the situation of the residents of Camp Ashraf (also referred to as Camp New Iraq), who are at risk of facing violent expulsion by the Iraqi security forces.
The Camp is home for about 3,400 Iranians who oppose the current regime in their country. The Iraqi Government has announced its decision to close the Camp definitively by the end of 2011, and has ordered its residents to resettle to another site in Iraq, or to return to Iran.
The Iraqi authorities have already tried, on several occasions, to enter the Camp by force and to push its residents out. On 8 April 2011, an attack on the Camp resulted in more than 30 people being killed and over 300 being injured.
The UNHCR is now considering individual requests for refugee status from the residents of Ashraf. As each case is being studied individually, this work requires considerable time and will not be completed before the deadline set by the Iraqi authorities.
As this deadline comes closer, there are growing fears among the international community that a new attempt to expel the residents of Ashraf by force might turn into a large-scale massacre.
The Committee urges the Iraqi authorities to postpone the announced deadline for the closure of Camp Ashraf (31 December 2011) so as to provide sufficient time and appropriate conditions for the UNHCR to consider, on an individual basis, all requests for refugee status filed by the residents of the Camp.
We encourage Council of Europe member and observer states to consider positively the resettlement demands of those Ashraf residents who are duly recognised by the UNHCR as refugees.”