State Department’s Coercing Ashraf Residents to Forgo Their Humanitarian Needs in Return for Possible Delisting of MEK is Appalling and Unlawful

LONDON, July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The International Solidarity for Democratic Change in Iran (ISDCI) denounces pressuring the Iranian opposition and the residents of Camps Ashraf into giving up minimum humanitarian life support requirements and relocating to Camp Liberty in return for possible delisting of the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Some 2,000 Ashraf residents have already relocated to Camp Liberty, where the living conditions are inhumane. The Camp has no running water and it must be delivered on a daily basis by tankers.

Two State Department officials held a press briefing on the issue on Friday July 6, 2012, urging the residents to leave Ashraf without the provision of critical humanitarian life support requirements.

The officials, while criticizing the stall in relocation of Ashraf residents to Liberty, failed to clearly state the reason behind it, namely the lack of minimum humanitarian life support requirements at Camp Liberty and the Iraqi government’s obstructions in provisioning such needs. Instead, the officials blamed the residents.

Making the delisting of the MeK conditional on relocation of the remaining residents of Ashraf to Liberty is in effect blackmailing the defenseless residents to give up their basic human rights and willingly go to a prison, ironically called Liberty, which could turn into a killing field for them. The MEK must be delisted because there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. The safety and well-being of the Ashraf residents are much more important and must be given priority.

The remaining residents of Camp Ashraf have repeatedly declared that they will immediately go to Liberty if their human rights are respected by the Iraqi government and humanitarian life support requirements at Liberty are provided.

Instead of pressuring the residents to go to Liberty while minimum humanitarian standards are lacking, the State Department should press for their implementation by the government of Iraq. This is the only possible way to close Camp Ashraf successfully.

The Iraqi government’s refusal to provide the humanitarian needs of the residents and meet the commitments it made in a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the U.N. Secretary General Special Representative, Martin Kobler, has been the cause of the current stalemate and the halt in relocation of further convoys.

ISDCI completely agrees and supports the provision of humanitarian requirements at Camp Liberty before any further convoys leave Ashraf, stipulated in a press release by the Vice President of the European Parliament, Mr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras. The requirements stated are as follows:

Transfer of 300 air conditioners from Ashraf to Liberty.

Transfer of all the power generators that are currently in Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty. If there is any dispute about the ownership of the generators, they can be resolved in the future, under supervision of UN.

Transfer of 25 trucks, containing the belongings left over from the fourth and fifth convoys, and six utility vehicles about which there had already been an agreement.

Transfer of five forklifts from Ashraf to Liberty for the purpose of moving the residents’ belongings.

Transfer of three specially-designed vehicles and six specially-designed trailers for the disabled.

Transfer of 50 passenger cars from Ashraf to Liberty. It means one car for every 40 residents, which is absolutely necessary in the hot weather and for wounded and disabled residents.

Permission for construction, including the building of pavements, porches, canopies, ramps, special facilities for the disabled and green areas.

Connecting Liberty to Baghdad’s water network. Alternatively, the residents should be permitted to hire Iraqi contractors to pump the water into Liberty from a nearby water canal and bringing their own water purification system from Ashraf.

Allowing merchants or bidders access to Ashraf to negotiate and buy the movable properties as soon as possible and to make advanced payment and start making partial payments to the residents before the resumption of the relocation of the next convoy.

Start of negotiations between the residents and their financial representatives and the Iraqi Government to sell the immovable assets and properties, or negotiations with third parties (Iraqi Government should provide permission) to sign the necessary agreements. Partial payments should be made before the relocation. At least 200 residents would remain at Ashraf to maintain and upkeep the properties until they are sold in their entirety.

It is important for all sides to understand that the minimum life support requirements are based on the MoU. They are neither a luxury, nor maximalist.

ISDCI would encourage the residents to relocate only if these 10 requirements are provided.

The International Solidarity for Democratic Change in Iran (ISDCI)

SOURCE The International Solidarity For Democratic Change in Iran