UN Special Representative Kobler shown raw sewage floods on flying visit to Camp Libery

Camp Liberty Daily Report, January 30, 2012

NCRI– Martin Kobler visited Camp liberty on January 30, 2013.  Residents expressed their outrage over the living conditions in Camp liberty, lack of infrastructure, contamination as a result of the overflowing sewage.  The following is the text of the January 30 daily report on Camp Liberty.


This morning [January 30, 2013], in a snap and hasty visit that lasted not more than 40 minutes, SRSG Martin Kobler visited some parts of Camp Liberty, which has been over-flown by sewage as a result of recent flooding.

In response to the residents’ request to visit various parts of the camp, he said he was in a rush to leave the camp.

Due to rainfall and because of not having infrastructures, the life has become harsher for the residents. A significant part of the camp is flooded with water and sludge.  The outcome of the visit was as follows:

1.     In section one, SRSG visited a sewage tank that has been torn apart due to corrosion and the sewage has poured out and mixed with rainwater. SRSG observed closely inside the tank and saw that it was torn apart and was irreparable and took pictures. (photo 1) He also observed some other sewage tanks around which the residents had made belts with old iron girders to prevent them from tearing apart. (GOI prevents entry of suitable girders) (photo 2)

2.    During SRSG’s visit, the residents complained that there are no infrastructures here and the camp is lacking minimum living standards.  They asked him, “Is this the paradise you had promised?”

3.    In section 2, the residents complained about their accommodation conditions and T-walls around them that prevent water to be drained outside. (photos 3,4,5)

4.    SRSG observed that two days after the rainfall, main roads in the camp are still covered with mud. (photos 6-10)

5.    Holding a picture of one of the tanks attached to a previous ‘Daily Report’, SRSG said he wanted to see it. When the residents told him that it is located in section 7, he said he didn’t have time for going there. (photo 11)

6.    SRSG also visited Liberty’s water purification station and noticed that after spending $2.5m on the station by the residents, the GOI has not allowed yet entry of water pipes to the camp for connecting water reservoirs to the purification device. (photos 12,13)

7.    Residents asked SRSG to visit other sections that are flooded with rainwater and sewage, but he said he could not visit other sections due to shortage of time.

8.    Residents’ legal advisor told SRSG, “please look at my eyes that are infected because of constant contamination in our living environment caused by overflown sewage; this infection has now turned into a contagious disease in our section.”

9.    One of the residents told SRSG, “I came to Liberty more than 4 months ago, but I have not been interviewed by UNHCR yet. So what made it so exigent to pressure and relocate us to here; SRSG didn’t respond.

10.    During his visit, the residents were complaining about lack of proper infrastructures in the camp and said they feel they have been deceived to come to Liberty.   They told SRSG that they have come to Liberty a year ago; during very first days, UNHCR interviews with some residents were completed, but there is no prospect for resettlement yet. So far, more than 2,000 have been interviewed by UNHCR. Considering that TTL is a failed plan, it is better for the 2,000 residents who have been interviewed to go back to Ashraf and go to third countries from there. The issue of returning to Ashraf was raised with the SRSG by quite many residents. SRSG had no response to the camp’s problems and gave no certain prospect as to resettlement in third countries. He just said it is impossible for you to return to Ashraf; the only option is to go to third countries. The residents stated that they would not listen anymore to his baseless promises about resettlement as they have listened time and again in the past 14 months. They added that those promises had been nothing but deception for making residents homeless.

11.    Replying to problems presented by residents’ representatives, SRSG insisted that instead of weekly meetings with camp’s management that are not carried out regularly, they meet on a daily basis with Sadeq Mohammed Kadhim. Residents’ representatives stated that they did not expect United Nations to introduce a person to residents to meet with who has killed Ashraf residents and is under prosecution by the Spanish Court according to universal jurisdiction for war crimes in Ashraf. They added that they did regularly meet with him for three months, but the only thing this individual does is to foment tensions in the camp and increase the psychological torture on residents.

12.    Residents’ representatives protested the presence of Captain Haidar Azab and Major Ahmed Khozair in Camp Liberty who both have directly participated in two massacres in Ashraf. They requested intervention by SRSG to transfer these two from Camp Liberty. SRSG minimized the problem and said there are more important matters that he should address, and told the residents to think about resettlement and not these issues!!!

13.    Residents’ representatives asked SRSG that UNAMI monitors would never carry messages from agents of Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to the residents since this matter seriously hurts credibility of UNAMI and the monitors.

14.    The residents protested to SRSG as to why he had said in the UN Security Council session that camp monitors do not have access to some parts of the camp? Where in the camp they have not been able to see and at what time? The residents said that his monitors are quite free to have access to the residents and there has been no restriction in this regard. Martin Kobler who had no answer to this question, referred to women living quarters that monitors had not been let in. The residents responded that you should not expect men to be allowed to enter Moslem women’s resting quarters, and your female monitors have never had any problem in entering women’s resting quarters.  

15.    SRSG replied to residents’ complaint about the conditions in the camp by showing them a picture of his own residence in Baghdad Green Zone where also water had accumulated. Residents said that their problem here is not just rain, but absence of infrastructures and overflow of black water tanks that contaminate the whole environment with sewage. Residents also stated that it would have been better if the SRSG showed them pictures of his residence in Germany since it is exactly for the poor conditions in Iraq that UN employees’ salary in Iraq is doubled, but that they have been evicted from their home and brought to this prison.

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