By Nasrin Faizi, resident of Camp liberty
I am a former political prisoner of the 1980s in Iran and after ten years I was able to flee the Iranian regime’s dungeons. Many years later when I was in Camp Ashraf in Iraq as a political refugee, we were given promises in 2012 by the United Nations and US government that we were being transferred to a “temporary transit location” ironically called Camp Liberty, where we would be transferred to third countries in the span of six months. All of this turned out to be a hoax and a bunch of lies.
It has been nearly three years now that those supposed “six months” have yet to end and we are piled up in this camp, dubbed as a “concentration camp” by American and European dignitaries. However, it doesn’t end here because 100 of our colleagues who remained in Ashraf based on a quadripartite agreement between UNAMI, the US government, the Government of Iraq (GOI) and Ashraf residents, in order to finalize our movable and non-movable property in Ashraf. We the residents showed our commitment to the signed agreements with UNAMI and US, and we literally sacrificed our lives for freedom and justice.
However, many crimes and massacres against us did not provoke these parties to live up to their commitments. Our colleagues were murdered in cold blood and our properties were never sold. In fact, they are continuously being plundered by Tehran-trained thieves. However, nothing was heard or any action seen from neither UNAMI nor the US Embassy that had guaranteed our property would be protected. As the 42 survivors of the 1 September 2013 massacre in Ashraf (by the Iraqi security forces) were transferred to Liberty, the UN had again given a guarantee to protect our property in Ashraf. Two articles very specifically said:
– The GOI will allow the residents sell their property at any time they wish
– The GOI will guarantee the protection of all property in Ashraf
These were nothing but false promises that UNAMI gave to the Ashraf massacre survivors before departing their three decade long home and going to Liberty. However, the GOI and UNAMI never lived up to their part of the bargain.
This injustice against us, the former Camp Ashraf residents and current residents of Camp Liberty, reminds me of the time I was held in the Iranian regime’s prisons. At that time Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards would attack the homes of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran members and even carried out arbitrary detentions. After our transfer to prison they would raid our homes again. Our movable property would be plundered and confiscated, and our non-movable property would be confiscated, including our homes and our very lives. Even if we were released the regime would never return our property. With a very unfortunate difference, at that time there was no human rights organization monitoring the situation or a party that had to respond to the matter. It was only the criminal Iranian regime that would carry out these measures that to it did not seem surprising at all, because this is the true nature of fascist regimes. Truly, how are such measures justified? In which part of these pacts is UNAMI’s role emphasized?
In Camp Liberty, just like the dungeons of the Iranian regime, prison-making measures have been ongoing for some time now. We are literally treated like inmates here. Senator Robert Torricelli, our lawyer in the case of selling the property in Ashraf, was not allowed to enter Camp Liberty and meet his clients (!), while thieves such as Iranian regime officials – who are actually members of the terrorist Quds Force and Iranian regime-linked militants – are easily allowed to enter and roam in Ashraf, and of course steal our property and belongings. 52 of our colleagues had stayed in Ashraf to guarantee the selling of our property; however, they became the victims of false pledges and a horrific massacre.
In Camp Liberty, while our medical equipment we purchased at our own expense had remained in Ashraf and we were not allowed to transfer them to Liberty, 22 of our colleagues suffered to death due to an inhumane and brutal medical siege and depriving us of free access to Baghdad hospitals. The Iraqis are blocking the transfer of these specific devices and our heavy property from Ashraf to Liberty, as if we are still in the Stone Age because in Liberty we are left with no choice but to move around our equipment with our bare hands. We have even said we are willing to sell our property in Ashraf to provide for the heavy expenses of our resettlement in third countries. However, we are deprived of that, too.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the inhumane and unfair treatment we are treated to in Camp Liberty, all under the very eyes of the UN and UNAMI. Thousands of MPs and jurists across the globe are condemning such measures, yet UNAMI and US government officials have remained in utter silence and inaction which is truly despicable in this day and age. One must say as time passes, the statements issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Camp Liberty prove to be true more than ever before, naming Camp Liberty as a detention center.
I have seen and experienced the Iranian regime’s dungeons for ten long years, and I can compare the current situation as similar to the notorious prisons in Iran, and how our property has been plundered and confiscated in Ashraf, just like the mullahs’ crimes against the Iranian people. This regime has been condemned 61 times in the UN General Assembly for gross human rights violations. There is one difference, however, that here in Camp Liberty the UN and other human rights organizations are seeing all these atrocities, and by remaining silent and inactive, they are showing their support of such injustice, and in many cases they are seen to be legitimizing these measures against us.
However, the message of the blood of my 52 colleagues that lost their lives to these false pledges will very soon stand against all injustice; even if the UN and other human rights organizations continue to remain silent and passive.