UNHCR attempt to urgently relocate remaining Camp Liberty residents

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has published a statement regarding the implementation of solutions for residents of Camp Liberty. They claim that the relocation of the camp residents is maintaining momentum, “with more than 1,700 residents having now been relocated to a situation of safety in third countries” meaning that more than half of the residents registered by UNHCR have now been successfully relocated.

The UNHCR are optimistic that the process of relocating all residents will be completed “well before” the end of 2016, especially since international efforts started in 2011. The residents of Camp Liberty are members of the main Iranian opposition group PMOI (People’s Mojahedin of Iran), who were forcibly removed from Camp Ashraf.

The statement says: “This progress has been achieved with the cooperation of the residents who have proceeded with the relocation process despite difficult circumstances, including the attack on 4 July 2016, which fortunately did not result in any casualties.” Although there were no fatalities, there were in fact more than 50 people injured. 

“Ongoing success in the implementation of solutions has also been assisted by the residents’ commitment to meeting the bulk of the associated costs, particularly for long term support of all residents relocated out of Iraq who have no access to state-sponsored assistance. This commitment is crucial to the ongoing implementation of solutions for the group.” This means that the relocation of residents abroad is reliant on the commitment of the residents themselves to fund the relocation, including their lodging abroad, as they will have no access to state-sponsored assistance. This unique case shows the financial independence of the Iranian Resistance who have never asked the West to fund or arm them. The Resistance simply asks Western governments not to appease the mullahs’ regime by signing lucrative oil contracts etc. which go on to fund terrorism and human rights abuses, for example. The Resistance asks that the West sides with the millions of Iranians Iran who cry freedom, not with the mullahs who have deprived them of their freedom. 

The UNHCR acknowledges and expresses their gratitude for the measures taken by other countries to relocate residents, namely Albania. “Albania’s exceptional contribution to this humanitarian endeavour merits special note, as Albania has received a significant proportion of the residents who have been relocated. Likewise, the United States has been actively supporting the relocations in a number of ways, and without those sustained and concerted efforts, the progress reported here could not have been achieved.”

They also say that despite the progress made over the past couple of years, they call for more long-term solutions for the camp residents, and urgently, because of the risk of future attacks. They also call on the Government of Iraq “to take all possible measures to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, including ensuring access to life saving medical treatment and assistance with the provision of goods and services to enable the residents to make arrangements for their own protection”.