Iraq: Respect right to life in Camp Liberty

By Nasrin Faiz

When we sit down to review the events and developments of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, after its residents transfer, we come to realize a painful fact materializing before our very eyes. From 2009 when the protection of Camp Ashraf, home to over 3,000 Iranian dissidents in exile in Iraq, was handed over from the Americans to Iraqi forces – in violation of all US commitments – and to this very day in 2015 Liberty residents remain under the most cruel medical and logistical sieges in history, there has not been a single day in the past seven years that Liberty residents have not witnessed painful violation of their rights. The words human rights violations are common words, and it simply cannot describe what we have gone through. In these seven years the rights that were violated in camps Ashraf and Liberty all came at the price of human lives.

In response, merely saying “Recognize Liberty residents’ rights” cannot fully describe what we are seeking because hearing such a sentence in a simple notion provides this image that Liberty residents are seeking their rights in normal everyday lives. Whereas Liberty residents are still deprived of the most basic rights, and in Camp Liberty this means a simple request for daily needs, a request to see a doctor, selling their assets back in Ashraf. Here it is worth noting that 52 Ashraf residents were murdered and 7 others abducted in trying to protect these assets… all of this cannot be simply summarized in a sentence demanding the recognition of the residents’ rights. In fact, for each and every simple and very basic request we have to pay the price with our lives and property, and being imprisoned and our assets being confiscated… In fact, before any such requests, we Liberty residents must ask relevant human rights organizations to recognize our right to life and living in Camp Liberty. The UN, US government and UNHCR are three parties who signed dozens of commitments and statements on protecting the lives and property of Liberty residents. They are directly responsible in this regard, but they have never lived up to their obligations. They must be called upon and asked: truly, how many times must we go through this? Haven’t we experienced it enough for serious action to be finally taken to cut short the hands of Iranian regime elements from Camp Liberty, and have the camp management team changed? This so-called camp management team consists of the same people that murdered residents in Ashraf and Liberty. Isn’t it enough for some serious action to be finally taken? Liberty residents’ right to life can be officially and legally recognized by the UNHCR issuing a refugee card. Through such a measure no one will ever be able to violate the residents’ rights without fear of legal action. This is a right that humanity has fought for throughout the course of history. They might be neglected due to appeasement policies, but they are never deniable. We Liberty residents call on all relevant parties in this regard to not side with those who deny the undeniable. All noble dignitaries across the globe have admitted to the rights of residents and demanded their rights be recognized. The UNHCR must align itself with the demands of these awaken consciences of mankind, and the pressure the US government, UN and Iraqi Government bring the violators of Liberty residents’ right to life to justice and hand over the camp management to impartial organizations under UN supervision. Liberty residents seek the right to life not for themselves, but to bring about freedom for their nation.

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