WASHINGTON, July 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) strongly condemns the callous and irresponsible remarks by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, who suggested over the weekend that the main opposition to Iran’s ruling theocracy, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), must dissolve itself before its members in Camp Ashraf could be considered for refugee status.
Ironically, the uprisings in Iran and the Arab Spring underscore the imperative of an organized opposition for democratic change. Ambassador Jeffrey’s parroting of Tehran’s call for disbanding the MEK is quite surprising and could only be viewed as an attempt to placate Tehran and its Iraqi proxies. Ambassador Jeffrey is in effect demanding that residents of Camp Ashraf forego their opposition to the Iranian regime. Moreover, the call for disbanding runs counter to Secretary Clinton’s recent remarks in support of the democracy movement in Iran.
His suggestion about relocating the Camp’s residents to another location that would be “a bit safer” is equally disturbing since the threat to the residents comes not from Iran but from the Iraqi army, which in the course of two attacks in July 2009 and April 2011, has murdered 47 Ashraf residents.
Ambassador Jeffrey is fully aware that absent adequate protection by the United Nations or the U.S., no place in Iraq would be safe for the Ashraf residents. Therefore, his reprehensible push for such relocation is nothing short of dispatching the defenseless residents of Ashraf to a death camp. This is especially the case since no independent and impartial investigation has yet been carried out regarding the April 8th massacre.
In 2004, the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq recognized all 3,400 MEK members in Ashraf as civilians and “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, after they voluntarily handed over their weapons to the U.S. military. Ambassador Jeffrey’s reference to the MEK as a “paramilitary organization” could only be perceived as a deliberate mischaracterization aimed at denying its members the protections to which they are entitled.
The USCCAR calls on the administration to work with the European allies and the UN for a solution in the framework of the relocation plan presented by the European Parliament last May which proposes relocating the residents to third countries and guarantees protection for the residents while the relocation process is completed.
SOURCE US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents