Saturday, December 11, 2010

Iraq: Iraq Denying Access to Urgent Medical Care for Camp Ashraf Residents

On December 10, 2010, Mr. Mehdi Fathi, a resident of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, home to 3,400 members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), died after a long and painful bout with cancer. He was 50.

His death was a direct result of the Iraqi government's restrictions placed on the residents and their access to urgent medical care. After several months of delay, by the time Mr. Fathi was allowed to have surgery, the cancer had spread all over his body. And when he was in immediate need of a blood transfusion, Iraqi authorities prevented the camp's residents from donating their blood. Currently there are many other residents in Camp Ashraf who are suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer. Further denial of medical care to them is sure to aggravate their illnesses.

US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) holds Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki personally responsible for Mr. Fathi's death and other blatant atrocities perpetrated against the residents by forces under his command. USCCAR urges the United States and the United Nations to undertake immediate steps to end the siege of Camp Ashraf in order to avert another humanitarian tragedy and more loss of life.

On December 2, Amnesty International expressed serious concern that "residents needing medical care have found it extremely difficult to have access to medical treatment in and out of the camp because the camp is surrounded by Iraqi security forces." AI's statement further indicated that "Iraqi security forces are increasingly making life difficult for the residents, including by using loudspeakers to broadcast messages and play loud music at them."

In light of such egregious violations of international law and international humanitarian law, it is incumbent upon the US to abide by its treaty and international obligations and resume the protection of Ashraf. Alternatively, it should provide the necessary protection and logistical assistance to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) so that it can establish a permanent monitoring presence at Ashraf to ensure the safety and security of the residents and their unhindered access to medical care. USCCAR urges Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to personally intervene to prevent another humanitarian catastrophe at Camp Ashraf.

Source: US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents