The Iraqi government has decided to close this camp populated by Iranian dissidents for 25 years north of Baghdad on December 31 and disperse the residents, using force if necessary. That is an operation that could prove to be deadly for the 3400 occupants.
Ashraf advocates fear this coming and warn of a ‘human catastrophe’ in the horizon.
Despite their right to stay in Iraq as residents who have lived in the country for the past 25 years, Ashraf residents have accepted to be transferred to third countries according to a European Parliament plan. They have filed for political asylum with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
But for three months the Iraqi government has continued to create obstacles in the way of UNHCR trying to conduct interviews and register the residents to start their refugee status determination process.
“We have no more time for the interviews,” said Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice president of the European Parliament, to the conference Brussels. He called on the UN refugee agency to declare a group determination of the resident’s refugee status considering this is an extraordinary situation and we are pressed for time.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union on Foreign Affairs told reporters today that she wants to see a satisfactory outcome to the whole situation.
"We are trying to work very closely with the UN who are in the lead on this, and whose responsibility it is to try and find a suitable and satisfactory outcome, to give these people a new home, to return them to where they wish to go," said Asthon.
Sections of this article was translated to English from LaLibre.be
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