Prominent international dignitaries gathered in The Hague AS the center of IC on October 30th holding a conference and calling for the United Nations to recognize Liberty in Iraq as a refugee camp under the supervision and protection of the UN and UN refugee agency. Professor Henk de Haan, Chairman of the Dutch Group of Friends of a Free Iran, Former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Dr. Juan E. Garces, prominent international jurist, and Retired Colonel Wesley Martin, former US commander at Camp Ashraf were among the participants.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance sent a video message to the conference stressing on the importance of UN protection for Liberty.
“I would also take the opportunity to underscore the necessity of active intervention of the United States and the European Union with regards to the situation of members of opposition in Ashraf and Liberty. The current situation in which they are deprived of humanitarian and human rights standards is the result of the Western powers’ appeasement of the religious fascism ruling Iran and its puppet government in Iraq. With their silence and inaction, they have practically allowed the mullahs’ suppression and crimes against members of the opposition to continue. Therefore, Liberty residents are at present deprived of their minimum human rights despite the fact that they are ‘protected persons’ under the 4th Geneva Convention and have been recognized as ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘people of concern’ by the UNHCR. Unfortunately, the United Nations has not fulfilled its obligation towards the residents either. More regretful is that in practice, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General also stands on the side of the Iraqi government. I call on the US and the EU members states, such as the Dutch government, to compel the Iraqi government to stop breaching legal and human rights of the Liberty and Ashraf residents and to urge the UN to announce Camp Liberty as a refugee camp in order to facilitate the residents’ resettlement,” she said in her speech.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy also participated in this conference stressing on the UN to rise to its vital role.
“We have managed in the US to finally delist this terrorist label off the MEK, and finally the people in Camp Ashraf and now in Liberty need to be recognized by the UN and US as the refugees that they are and treated with respect and human rights because that’s what they deserve. Colonel Martin will tell you how the UN and US still make it impossible for the people of Camp Liberty to live free and safe. They are a refugee camp treated like a concentration camp. They are living in intolerable situation being denied their medications, denied access for those who are physically disable, denied water and electricity in some cases. Here in The Hague we expect the UN to uphold its charter to protect the people at Camp Liberty and make sure they are afforded all the human dignity they deserve as asylum seekers,” he emphasized.
Dr. Juan E. Garces, prominent international jurist, shed light on the legal aspect of this dossier.
“After the right to life and freedom is the right to property that is denied to the residents of Ashraf. Iraqi authorities are interfering in the ownership transfer knowing even the internal law of Iraq states quote, ‘the person whose actual possession there of will be deemed the possessor until proof to the contrary has been provided. Is this then disturbing that the UN mission on this current file practically nulls also the right to property under the rule of law. It is time that some states, some governments and the Secretary-General to set up an independent commission to investigate the non-respect of international law operated in UNAMI since the departure of Mr. Ad Melkert. The residents in Liberty are now asylum seekers and refugees. Therefore, the Iraqi government and UN Commission for Refugees must intervene and declare Liberty as a refugee camp to make sure that their rights are respected, including freedom of movement.”
Professor Henk de Haan, Chairman of the Dutch Group of Friends of a Free Iran said in his speech, “The reason we are here is that we all have enormous sorrow about our friends in Liberty. That’s one of the reasons that we are organized here this meeting to ask the attention of our political friends in Netherlands, but also in Europe, to have an active positions to save the lives of people in Liberty.”
Retired Colonel Wesley Martin, former US commander at Camp Ashraf described the humanitarian aspect of this issue.
“The US and UN downplayed the 2009 and 2011 attacks. They pretended, Ambassador Kobler specifically, that Liberty was a very fit place to live. It is not. I lived at Liberty when I worked at Detentions Operations. Yes, then it was very fit. But once the Americans left the camp was looted by the Iraqi military. Probably was destroyed by the Iraqi military. And the weather deteriorated the seals, the black water tankers and a whole bunch of other things. Nobody has done anything to remove Colonel Sadeq from Liberty. They are denied water, medicines and constantly under torment, constantly under psychological operations, constantly under threats, the generators were denied entry into the camp, damaged spare parts were denied to come in, when finally the State Department engaged and did get the generators in.”