Ex UNAMI Chief: UN must hold Iraq responsible for abuses at Iranian camp

The United Nations must hold the government of Iraq responsible for the blockade of vital supplies into Camp Liberty, and protect the residents until they can be moved to safety, former UN Secretary General Special Representative for Iraq has demanded.

 Adrianus Melkert also told a conference in Paris on September 1 that the EU and US must urgently break the deadlock that is holding Camp Liberty Iranian residents ‘hostage’ at the camp near Baghdad airport.

Mr. Melkert was speaking on the first anniversary of the massacre of 52 Iranian dissidents incamp Ashraf on September 1, 2013 when Iraqi forces of Nouri al-Maliki attacked some 100 defenceless residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq and killed 52 members of the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and abducted 7 others including 6 women.

Many of the victims were shot in the head while their hands were tied behind their back. Other were shot as they were receiving treatment at the camps clinic.

Mr Melkert said: “All this loss of youth is not only your loss, it is the loss for the future of global community.

“How can the UN Security Council rightly be upset by the ongoing uprooting of communities that have lived in peace with their neighbors and yet look the other way when it comes to the refugees stuck in the mud of Baghdad?

“Make no mistakes, despite expressions of hope and impressions of change, Baghdad remains irreconcilably stuck. Al-Maliki is said to have stepped down but not yet stepped out. al-Abadi (Iraqi prime minister-designate) has vowed to step up, but he has not yet stepped up in a way that could bring Iraq the minimum necessary cooperation, consensuses, and stability that are needed to help reverse the downward spiral of violence that is destroying the fabric of its society and the future of its youths.”

He added: “And if the US, the European Union and like-minded countries would want to be more effective in contributing to such reconciliation, the most practical help and significant signal would be to receive the Ashraf, Liberty residents as free citizens in countries where human rights count.

“Has not now the time arrived to encourage and enforce an international high level mediation and facilitation group to address the grievances of the Liberty people and to help find an exit with security and dignity?”

He demanded first that UNAMI, the UN mission in Iraq, hold the government of Iraq accountable for creating the descent conditions in Liberty and for blockading the delivery of daily life essentials.

Secondly he called on the UN Security Council to include the plight of the Liberty residents in their humanitarian and political engagement with current events in Iraq and the wider region.

He called on the UNHCR to treat Liberty residents as refugees in need of a safe home, and urged the West to find a way of removing Iranian dissidents from Iraq.

He added: “Enough of violence and bloodshed, enough of politics ignoring people. Let not the lives lost in Ashraf and Liberty be forgotten. Let these lives lost be the harbingers of freedom for all those who stayed and continue to stay behind.”

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