Search this site powered by FreeFind

Quick Link

for your convenience!

Human Rights, Youth Voices etc.

click here


For Information Concerning the Crisis in Darfur

click here


Northern Uganda Crisis

click here


 Whistleblowers Need Protection



Co-chair, Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran (CFDI)
Public Demonstration at office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees
280 Albert Street
28 July 2011

The Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran and all of us protesting here today are increasingly alarmed about the safety of 3400 Iranian refugees at Ashraf, Iraq.

We support the European Parliament's proposal for a long term solution for Ashraf residents. Yet they are explicitly included in the threats of imminent further bloodshed and more attacks by Iraqi security forces. The Iraqi force threat against them must be removed immediately.

The UN Secretary General in his report on Iraq (July 20, 2011) highlighted Ashraf and urged all states to find a solution that is acceptable to all, including Ashraf residents. He also demanded that humanitarian goods and services be provided for the residents. Iraq’s government must lift now the unlawful and inhuman blockade of Ashraf.

Any attempt to displace Ashraf residents within Iraq would constitute yet another humanitarian catastrophe for them. It would also be contrary to international law and the peace-keeping role of the U.N. Security Council.

To provide temporary protection until a final solution is negotiated that is respectful of Iraq's sovereignty and international law, the UNHCR should grant group determination of refugee status for all Ashraf residents. David Matas and I highlighted this in our letter to UNHCR and I am repeating that today.

The situation at Ashraf is a disaster in making. The threat of forcible closure of the facility is real and thus the UNHCR must act immediately.

U.S.Congress hearing on July 7, 2011

Permit me to refer to some testimony given at the hearing on July 7, entitled "Massacre at Camp Ashraf: Implications for U.S. Policy," held by the Oversight and Investigation Sub-Committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A link to it is available in the Iran section of

The participants in the hearing included:

Ms. Neda Zanjanpour, a survivor of the massacre at Ashraf, Col. Gary Morsch, MD, Chief medical liaison between Camp Ashraf, and the U.S. military Colonel Wes Martin (Ret.), Former Base Commander of Camp Ashraf

A brief video clip showed scenes of the April 8th massacre at Ashraf by the Iraqi Army operating under the direct order of prime pinister Nouri al-Maliki. Neda's injured body is also shown in the video.

By direct satellite link to Ashraf: Ms. Neda Zanjanpour, speaking from Ashraf medical clinic, in a stunning testimony responded to the questions by Members of Congress. A Canadian citizen who studied at York University, Neda went to Ashraf in 1999 at the age of 20. She testified that she had been wounded "when an Iraqi soldier threw a grenade at me, which exploded between my legs."

"The day before the attack, the US embassy in Baghdad told us that the Iraqi forces were going to launch an operation. Despite our pleas to the commander of US forces - which had been at Ashraf since April 3rd - to stay, his unit was ordered out of the Camp at 9:20 pm on April 7th. That left us completely defenseless in the face of a massive assault by the Iraqi forces."

She said Ambassador James Jeffrey's comments that the MEK (PMOI) should be relocated inside Iraq amounts to "asking Ashraf residents to submit to the demands of the Iranian regime... We will never surrender to the Iranian regime by going to concentration camps in Iraq where we could be murdered away from international spotlight."

The sub-committee chair Rep.Dana Rohrabacher’s opening remarks included: "Why was a U.S. unit deployed at Camp Ashraf ordered away just hours before the attack? We would have liked to have asked State Department officials these questions, but we were told no one was available to testify today at this hearing. This stonewalling can only go so far before it becomes a cover up... U.S. appeasement of this crime is part of the story."

He noted that the continued blacklisting of the MEK "is used to justify actions like the April attack." "The United Kingdom and the European Union have removed the MEK from their terrorist lists. We should quit playing games and also remove the MEK from the terrorist list before it results in another massacre," Rohrabacher added.

Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX):

"If the ambassador of Iraq can hear my voice, he needs to come to Congress. He owes this Congress an apology... He owes both an apology to the people in Camp Ashraf, to the people of Iraq who will suffer as well because they are diverse, and he owes an apology and explanation to the world family, and particularly the United States of America, for the treasure that we lost attempting to provide democracy there."

Colonel Wes Martin (Ret.), Former Base Commander of Camp Ashraf: "The terror and torment that is being cast upon the [MEK] and Camp Ashraf needs to stop. I know from experience, the [MEK] is not a terrorist organization. My recommendation in this effort is for the People's Mojahedin to be immediately removed from the State Department terrorist list. ..They do need protection of U.S. military forces," he added while strongly dismissing the U.S. Embassy-Baghdad proposal to relocate Ashraf residents inside Iraq.

Col. Martin also debunked allegations by the Iranian regime that the residents of Ashraf were being held against their will. "One perpetual rumor worthy of specific address concerns members of the MEK being held against their will. I was able to validate through specific occurrences anyone wishing to leave has that choice."

Col. Gary Morsch, MD, served as the Battalion Surgeon at Camp Ashraf and stated: "There were no findings of any terrorist activities, disloyalty to the mission of the US military in Iraq, illegal activities, coercion of MEK members, hidden arms, or any evidence that the MEK were not fulfilling their agreement with the US Military to fully cooperate with and support the goals of the US in Iraq..."

He said Ashraf residents were highly educated and "had come to Ashraf to voluntarily serve with the MEK to establish a free and democratic Iran, and were now working with the US to promote democracy in Iraq." Referring to the siege on Ashraf, he said the residents are being denied basic security and other necessities. "It was with great sadness," he said, "that I have now witnessed the abandonment of the residents of Camp Ashraf by the very government that had asked me to risk my life to defend these same people."

He said relocation of the residents within Iraq, "in my judgment, would be a recipe for disaster."

I hope these remarks will be heard and acted upon by the UNHCR in Geneva.

Thank you.

Home Books Photo Gallery About David Survey Results Useful Links Submit Feedback