UNHCR: Camp Ashraf residents are “asylum seekers” and must “benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being”

Maryam Rajavi: UN monitoring teams must be stationed in Ashraf to secure protection and rights specified in the UNHCR statement

The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) declared in a statement that the residents of Camp Ashraf are “formally asylum seekers” and called on the Government of Iraq (GoI) to extend “the deadline for the closure of the Camp.”

 “International law requires that they must be able to benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being. This includes protection against any expulsion or return to the frontiers of territories where their lives or freedom would be threatened (the non-refoulement principle)” the statement added.

The statement that was issued on September 13, 2011, coinciding with the sit-in by Iranians in front of the UN headquarters in Geneva in its 6th month,  reiterates that “there is no formal requirement for individuals to disassociate themselves from the PMOI/MEK [the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran] in order to apply for refugee status.”

According to the statement, the “UNHCR is committed to playing its proper role, together with the Government of Iraq, UNAMI and other concerned actors, to find a solution to this long-standing problem.”

In letters addressed to the UNHCR on August 12 and September 3, the Camp Ashraf residents requested the UN agency to reaffirm their refugee status.  They stated that al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, whose affiliation to the Iranian regime is a well known fact, justifies his attacks on Camp Ashraf under the pretext that the camp residents have no legal status.

Mrs. Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, described the UNHCR statement as necessary but insufficient. She said that the determination of the legal status of Ashraf residents will deny the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq of the excuse for further attack against Ashraf. Their claims that the residents do not have any legal status will be more irrelevant than ever.

Mrs. Rajavi added that the US must assist the UNHCR to secure the rights and protections stipulated in the statement and prevent their violations by the Government of Iraq.

She stressed that the UNHCR must fully recognize the refugee status of all Camp Ashraf residents to thwart any future conspiracies against the residents by the Iranian regime and their affiliates in Iraq.  A step based on the international law that if it had been taken earlier, the lives of 47 residents have not been perished and 1071 more had not been injured.

Mrs. Rajavi said that as the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq have no respect for law therefore the implementation of the rights and protections stipulated in UNHCR statement must be guaranteed. She called on the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNAMI to pursue their humanitarian obligations in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2001 and the article 66 of the Secretary General’s report to UN General Assembly to prevent any further attack or harassment against the residents of Ashraf. She said that the International community must force al-Maliki to implement international law and conventions and points outlined in the UNHCR statement.

She urged the UN Secretary General to declare Camp Ashraf as a site under continuous UN monitor and station its monitoring team there. Also declare Ashraf a non-military zone which must be free of Iraqi armed forces and agents of the Iranian regime’s Quds force.

She said that if the US military forces are not willing to carry out their obligations towards protecting Ashraf residents based on individual agreements signed with every resident, the UN forces must maintain and guarantee their protection.  The psychological torture of the residents with 300 loudspeakers and the siege of Ashraf as well as fabricated legal claims against Ashraf residents that Maliki is announcing one after another must end completely.  Any claims against the PMOI must be submitted to the National Court of Spain or the Independent International Fact Finding Commission for examination. 
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
September 17, 2011

Back to top button