The letter of these distinguished scientific dignitaries to Ban Ki-moon, which has also been sent to the UNHCR, US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones and UN SRSG Nickolay Mladenov, writes:
Adverse security conditions of Iraq and the presence of paramilitary gangs and ISIS have by themselves made life perilous in that country. The efforts of the new Iraqi government to improve the situation is admirable, however what cannot be tolerated is the continued pressures and inhumane blockade imposed on nearly 3,000 Iranian refugees in that country who have been attacked and massacred several times. However, the camp is still under UN monitoring, pressures and restrictions, especially medical and logistical siege
While the residents of the camp are in dire need of selling their property to cover the heavy expenses of their resettlement, not only are they are not allowed to sell their belongings, but also a significant number of them have been looted by the militias affiliated with the Iranian regime without any protection from the Iraqi government.
These issues are happening despite the fact that these refugees moved to the prison-like Camp Liberty until their resettlement in third countries upon the pledges made by the UN and U.S. for their safety and security and guarantee to be able to sell their property.
Considering that after nearly three years, more than 75% of these refugees have not yet resettled, and there is no near prospect for their resettlement, it is imperative that the UN and the U.S. live up to their commitments regarding the safety and security of these refugees. The first step is to recognize Camp Liberty as a refugee camp under the supervision of the UN High Commission for Refugees and to lift all the medical and logistical restrictions on the residents. It is also necessary to ask the Iraqi government to prevent the residents’ property in Ashraf from being looted, and let the residents sell their property.
We, the undersigned Nobel Laureates, ask you, Mr. Secretary-General, to use your good offices and ask the UNHCR and your Special Representative for Iraq, to take immediate practical steps in this regard.
The signatories are:
Sir Richard J. Roberts, Nobel Laureate in Medicine 1993
Professor Thomas C. Schelling, Nobel Laureate in Economics 2005
Professor John C. Polanyi, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1986
Professor Robert H Grubbs, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2005
Professor Edmond H. Fischer, Nobel Laureate in Medicine 1992
Professor Elias J. Corey, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1990
Professor Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1986
Professor John C. Mather, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2006
Professor Jack Steinberger, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1988
Professor Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 2000