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Camp Ashraf Residents, including 22 Canadian citizens, Need Urgent Medical Care


By Hon David Kilgour
Iranian Embassy
24 February 2010
Ottawa

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 border.

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 humanity.

Thank you.

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