“Brave and courageous” UK students demand human rights for Camp Liberty prisoners

Yesterday saw the launch of the Ashraf Campaign (ASHCAM), a new student-led humanitarian initiative, at the University of York.

The official launch event, which was attended by dozens of students and locals, sought to raise awareness of the more than 3,000 Iranian refugees currently imprisoned at a concentration camp, Camp Liberty, in Iraq.

Attendees were welcomed by ASHCAM’s Honorary President, Struan Stevenson, a Scottish MEP and Chairman of the EU Delegation for Relations with Iraq, who recorded a video message specifically for the occasion.

Describing the campaign, and the students involved, as “brave and courageous,” Mr Stevenson explained how the Iranian refugees had been “forcibly evicted” from their homes in Ashraf City and made to live in “squalid, appalling conditions” at Camp Liberty.

The formation of ASHCAM, set up by students at the University of York, came just days after a rocket attack on Camp Liberty in which 7 detainees were killed and more than 100 injured.

Jacob Campbell, one of the founders and Co-Chairman of ASHCAM, said he was “encouraged” by the turnout at the official launch event, adding that “the terrible plight of the former Ashraf City residents is not something that has galvanised the student community up until this point, but ASHCAM is already demonstrating the great potential for student action on the issue.”

Many of those who attended the event signed “The ASHCAM Declaration,” which calls for the immediate return of Iranian refugees held at Camp Liberty to their homes in Ashraf City.