Rep. Loretta Sanchez Condemns Recent Attack on Camp Ashraf

The State Column – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, today submitted a statement for the record condemning the January 7th attack on Camp Ashraf. Over 175 refugees, including 91 women, were injured when Iraqi special forces and Iranian agents hurled stones, bottles, and metal into the camp.

“The recent attack on Iranian refugees raises serious questions about whether the Iraqi government is adequately protecting the residents of Camp Ashraf,” said Rep. Sanchez. “The exiles deserve humane treatment and freedom from the threat of random, unprovoked violence. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki must know that the United States will closely monitor how these innocent men, women, and children are treated in the future.”

Camp Ashraf, located only 75 miles from the Iranian border, houses 3,500 Iranian refugees. The individuals who reside in the camp have “protected persons” status under the Geneva Convention. Congresswoman Sanchez’s full statement regarding the attack is available below:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On January 7th of this year, residents of Camp Ashraf were attacked by Iranian agents and supporting Iraqi forces. Camp Ashraf houses over 3,400 supporters of Iran’s opposition and are currently under the ‘protected persons’ status in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“176 people, including 91 women were injured when the agents hurled stones, bottles, metal pieces and Molotov cocktails into the Camp. This barrage builds on a broader campaign against the people that were exiled from their homeland after calling for an end to the oppressive Iranian regime.

“For the past 11 months, 180 loudspeakers have been installed beyond the fences of the Camp that continuously play Iranian propaganda and messages that threaten the property, homes and lives of residents. To me, this presents a compelling reminder that the freedoms we enjoy are far from universal and there are those struggling for the same liberties.

“Therefore, I urge my colleagues to speak out against the Iranian and Iraqi forces involved in the assault on Camp Ashraf and remember those injured in the violence. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back.”

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