In an international session held in Paris on Saturday, November 5th at the initiative of the CFID Committee (French Committee for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran), European and American personalities called on the European Union, United States and United Nations to take immediate measures to cancel the Iraqi government’s illegal and repressive deadline to close Camp Ashraf by the end of 2011. This call comes after the announcement of US forces’ withdrawal from Iraq by President Obama and also Iraqi forces’ preparations for an attack against the camp.
The speakers at this conference were: Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; General Hugh Shelton, former US Joint Chiefs of Staff (1997 – 2001); Ed Rendell, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1999-2001) and Governor of Pennsylvania (2002 – 2011); John Bruton, Prime Minister of Ireland (1994 – 1997) and the Ambassador of European Union to the US (2004-2005); Lord Peter Mendelsohn, European Union Commissioner (2004 –2008) and UK Deputy Prime Minister (2009); Robert Torricelli, US Senator (1997 – 2003); Romeo Florin Nikoara, Romanian Senator; Jean-François Le Garrett, Mayor of Paris 1st district; Jean-Pierre Béquet, member of the Valdoise Provincial Council and mayor of Auvers-sur-Oise.
Below is speech by Senator Romio Floren Nikoara:
Thank you very much. Good evening. Sallam.
Mrs. President Rajavi, your excellences, your excellences the mayors, dear friends, after so many great speeches that we heard today here, it is little bit difficult to come with new ideas or come with new thoughts, but any way I have to tell some words to you because I am here. I have to tell you why I am here. I am here because of two reasons: I accepted the invitation of my friends to come here at this convention because I am coming from a country that also had a dictatorship until the early 1990s; may be some of you have known this.
We know what the hardship was. We know what terror was. We know how it was to live in a country without justice. And because of this I can sympathize and I can feel what some of people here are feeling. And the second reason that I am here is because in my country there is not much awareness of the situation in Iraq and the situation in Camp Ashraf. So I think that after this long day, when I go home I can bring the ideas and the thoughts that were expressed here and to take them to my fellow colleagues, politicians from the Senate or from the government.
Just in a few moments I’ll refer to the Amnesty International announcement that it was issued a few days before. This announcement of Amnesty International says that the resident of Camp Ashraf are refugees and enrages human rights violations as the Iraqi authorities plan to close down the camp. The warning given by the AI should be taken very seriously by the international community since the camp has previously been under attack. And the consequences we already witnessed in this video that was shown to us before.
By this time the Iraqi authorities are planning the attack to attack the camp while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced in a statement in September 2011 that it had received a high number of requests form the camp residents and was putting in place a process to determine them on individual basis. So I think this is a great breach of international laws and obligations and must not be allowed.
One would have expected full cooperation from the Iraqi government if it sincerely worked out solving the problem peacefully. But however the Iraqi government has systematically hindering possibilities of peaceful solution. It has to cooperate with the UN High Commissioner for Refugee instead of setting the stage for another deadly attack. While the Iraqi government is doing this, the question is why the High Commissioner for Refugees has not taken the necessary measures to start interviews with Ashraf residents yet. The High Commissioner must not allow the Iraqi government to arbitrarily stop the legal process and enforce the violent attack on the defenseless and unarmed residents of the camp.
New bloodshed in the camp at the end of this year would be humanitarian catastrophe, a true shame on our humanity and as announced massacre has been allowed to take place. UN and US government and other countries from the international community would certainly be blamed and held responsible for this. Therefore let us take the preventive action instead of letting the bloodshed happen and then criticize those responsible for it. Let us prevent it now. We urge the UN and the UN Security Council to compel with the Iraqi government to revoke the deadline for closing the camp and as it was said before to undertake protection of the camp residents by blue helmets until the High Commissioner for Refugees accomplishes its tasks and resettles the camp residents in the third countries. The UN flag on the camp provides the necessary political protection for the camp and prevent the Iraqi from launching another attack.
The United Nations can and must postpone this dangerous deadline. I like to say in the end another two ideas.
One of them is that I ask as it was asked before here the American administration especially the Department of State to delist the PMOI from the terrorist list because this is a very important step in solving the Camp Ashraf problem. And secondly we join this Amnesty International campaign to revoke the deadline. As I said I will take this ideas, this campaign and this feelings back to my country and share them with my fellow politicians. Finally, please let me give you a short quote from a novel that I just was reading , a short quote which I think can sum up our discussion today and I quote: “sometimes is more important how you spend your time, rather than how much time do you have to spend.” So that is why it is important that we are doing what we are doing now because in fact we do not have too much time. Thank you very much for your attention.