The United Nations Refugee Agency on Monday published an updated statement on the situation of several thousand members of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), or Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), in Camp Liberty in Iraq.
The refugees in Camp Liberty have come repeated deadly rocket attacks by agents of the Iranian regime in recent years, most recently on October 29. At the behest of the mullahs’ regime in Iran, the Iraqi governmental committee tasked with suppressing the Camp Liberty residents led by National Security Advisor Faleh Fayyad has imposed a logistical and medical siege against the residents.
The following is the full text of the updated statement published on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
Update No. 13
Update on the implementation of solutions for residents of Hurriya Temporary Transit Location (TTL)
• 2015 has seen the largest number of relocations out of Iraq in a calendar year since the international community and the Government of Iraq began efforts to find relocation opportunities for residents of the Hurriya Temporary Transit Location (TTL) in 2011.
• By the end of 2015, more than 1,100 residents will have been relocated to a situation of safety in third countries. This represents more than a third of the residents registered by UNHCR. By the beginning of 2016, it is expected that fewer than 1,970 residents will remain in the TTL.
• The situation with relocations is at its most buoyant since efforts began. Almost half of all relocations have taken place in the latter half of 2015. These outcomes have been achieved with the cooperation and flexibility of the residents who have proceeded with the relocation process despite difficult circumstances, including rocket attacks on 29 October 2015 which resulted in the deaths of 24 residents and injuries to dozens of others.
• UNHCR strongly condemned the rocket attacks; the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, stating: “This is a most deplorable act, and I am greatly concerned at the harm that has been inflicted on those living at Camp Liberty. Every effort must continue to be made for the injured and to identify and bring to account those responsible.”
• UNHCR deeply appreciates the measures taken by some countries to relocate residents to situations of safety and security. Albania’s exceptional contribution to this humanitarian endeavour merits special note. Albania has received more than three-quarters of the residents who have been relocated. Its efforts have contributed greatly to international efforts to find solutions for this group of people.
• Central to the recent success is the residents’ commitment to meeting the bulk of costs associated with relocations to Albania. This commitment to meet travel costs and living expenses is crucial to the ongoing implementation of solutions for the group.
• UNHCR urgently renews its calls upon states to find ways to offer long term solutions for the residents who remain at the Hurriya TTL. This appeal for help should be read in light of the potential for more attacks on the Hurriya TTL. As well as the attack of October 2015, the residents have been subjected to several rocket attacks, both in the Hurriya TTL and in Camp New Iraq (the former Camp Ashraf), which also resulted in deaths and injuries. These attacks, coupled with the current conflict in Iraq, leave residents of the Hurriya TTL open to significantly heightened security risks. This emphasizes the need for quick and pragmatic action on the part of States to ensure that these people are relocated to a situation of safety and security.
• UNHCR continues to call upon the Government of Iraq to take all possible measures to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, including ensuring access to life saving medical treatment and assistance with the provision of good and services to enable the residents to make arrangements for their own protection.
• UNHCR also recalls the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations explicitly recognizes that residents benefit from the principle of non-refoulement.
UNHCR, Geneva, 14 December 2015