Saturday, January 08, 2011

Iraq: Condemnation of Violent Attack on Camp Ashraf

The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) condemns in strongest terms the assault on Camp Ashraf, Iraq, earlier today, in which 175 residents, including 83 women, have so far been injured.

Camp Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of Iran's principal opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, (PMOI/MEK), who have been all formally granted "Protected Persons" status under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The assault today was organized by the Committee for the Closure of Ashraf in the Iraqi Prime Minister's office in coordination with the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. The assailants were bussed from Basra, Amara, Nasiriya and Baghdad to the gates of the Camp, which has been subjected to a year-long propaganda barrage by 180 loudspeakers and increasing restrictions on the entry of medical supplies, food and other essential items.

Around noon, the assailants, with the full backing of the Iraqi Security Forces, began attacking Ashraf residents, hurling petrol bombs, rocks, bricks, and metal bars. The injured, including Ms. Fatemeh Noori who sustained damage to her eye, have been denied urgent medical care.

The Iraqi government also deployed a rapid deployment battalion and the police force in the city of Khalis around Camp Ashraf, a possible preparation for further and more violent assaults on the Camp.

The latest attack comes after the hastily-arranged January 5 visit to Baghdad by the Iranian regime's Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi following the Spain's National Court decision earlier in the week to open a probe into the deadly July 2009 raid on Ashraf by the Iraqi forces. The court said the assault, which left 11 residents dead and 500 wounded, amounted to a crime against humanity. According to news reports, in his meetings with Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Salehi demanded that further action be taken against Ashraf.

USCCAR reminds the U.S. government of its continuing responsibility to protect the residents of Ashraf under its treaty and international law obligations, including Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also urges the Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to intervene immediately and, in line with a call by a bi-partisan majority in the House of Representatives (H.Res. 704), undertake whatever steps necessary to end the inhumane treatment of the residents and prevent another humanitarian catastrophe at Ashraf.

SOURCE U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR)