Obama’s silence over Iranian Residents of Camp Ashraf

Martyn Storey
Original Publication: Guardian
The reporting of the crisis in Camp Ashraf following Friday morning’s attack by Iraqi ground forces by Guardian stands out against the blanket of silence in most of the UK media (US ‘may have broken international law’ over Iraqi attack on Iranian camp, 9 April).

However, the emergency has not gone away. Iraqi forces are continuing to impede the transfer of at least 250 wounded Camp Ashraf residents to hospital. I also understand that several Ashraf residents have been taken hostage by Iraqi forces.

Despite numerous calls by Ashraf residents, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and many international bodies, US forces have still taken no action to assist in relocating the wounded or to send medical and surgical teams to Ashraf. On Sunday, reports from Ashraf indicated that Iraqi soldiers had beaten residents with clubs and wood sticks, and destroyed part of the cemetery in the camp.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt has issued a strongly worded statement deploring the loss of life and emphasising the need to make medical assistance available. There is no sign, however, of the US administration rushing to fulfil its obligations. We are waiting for President Obama’s strong condemnation of the atrocities committed by Iraqi troops at Ashraf.

The same principle under which international law was used to justify action in Libya to protect the civilian population applies to the situation in Camp Ashraf. The US army can and must take the injured people to the American hospital and make sure they are receiving proper medical care.