Seven months after the Iraqi police assault on the unarmed 3400
residents of Camp Ashraf, who are members of Iranís main opposition
Peopleís Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the continued unlawful siege of
the camp has put the lives of hundreds of its residents, including an
estimated 22 Canadian citizens, in peril.
I'm pleased to mention here today that the governments of Belgium and
Australia mentioned Camp Ashraf in their interventions at the
Universal Periodic Review of Iraq at the UN Human Rights Council
hearings in Geneva recently. More governments, including Canada's,
should follow their leadership.
Peace-loving persons everywhere should condemn Iraqi Prime Minister
Nuri al-Malikiís crackdown on Ashraf, which is clearly designed to
placate the Iranian regime, before Iraq's upcoming election. All of
us here today from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa call on Prime Minister
Harper, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the United Nations
Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
(UNAMI), to ensure the immediate end to the siege of Ashraf.
Some Ashraf residents are suffering from incurable diseases and a
number of those wounded during the July raid suffer from permanent
injuries. Iraqi forces have prevented specialist doctors from visiting
Ashraf. As a result many cases have worsened and can no longer be
cured. A number of patients are losing their vision and several women
are suffering from cancer.
Compounding the medical crisis is the prevention of fuel delivery to
Ashraf in recent months. Food supplies are only allowed following
lengthy inspections, resulting in wasted food.
In recent days, in collusion with Iranís Ministry of Intelligence and
Security (MOIS), the al-Maliki government has transported a number of
MOIS agents, purporting to be family members of the residents, to the
gate of Ashraf to exert further pressure on them. Genuine Ashraf
families, meanwhile, are barred from entering the Camp.
Iraqi authorities have refused to issue visas to Canadian, US and
European lawyers of the residents. European parliamentarians, human
rights and religious organizations and dignitaries are barred.
Moreover, the Iraqi government still intends to transfer forcibly the
residents of Ashraf to an inhabitable detention centre near the Saudi
All the residents of Ashraf are protected persons under the Fourth
Geneva Convention. These restrictions violate international law as
well as International Humanitarian Law and constitute crimes against