Sep 16 2013 – While much of the international community’s attention was turned toward the atrocities in Syria, human rights violations were occurring elsewhere in the world. Take for instance the horrific attack that recently took place at Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala province.
Camp Ashraf has long been home to Iranian exiles who now find themselves on the losing end of a closer Iraqi-Iranian relationship. Earlier this month, 52 of the approximately 100 remaining Camp Ashraf residents were shot dead and seven have gone missing, presumed to have been taken hostage by the attackers.
I strongly condemn the mass executions of innocent residents of Camp Ashraf and call for the immediate release of any hostages taken during that event. It is highly likely that Iraqi security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are responsible for the killings. Iraqi officials deny involvement and say an internal dispute is to blame.
An investigation into this terrible event is underway. It must be allowed to move forward with interference from the Iraqi government. Outside groups such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has already issued a disturbing statement “praising” the brutal murder of these exiles, need to stay out of this and let the UN investigation transpire.
Both the Iraqi and Iranian governments should be using whatever influence they may have with groups that may be holding missing persons from the camp to secure their immediate release.
It is also vital that all parties cooperate with the proposed plan to relocate the survivors at Camp Hurriya while the UN works to secure commitments from host countries to allow permanent relocation for them.
This tragic event is a perfect of example of how our responsibilities do not end even long after the military intervention is over. The US and the rest of the international community have an obligation to ensure that whoever is responsible for these murders are held accountable and that any and all hostages are immediately released.