Friday, April 08, 2011

Iraq: US Must Act immediately to Avert Looming Humanitarian Catastrophe in Camp Ashraf as Iraqi Forces Deploy for an Attack

The Iraqi forces under orders of Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are preparing for an extensive assault on Camp Ashraf that is scheduled for Friday, 4:00 AM local time (Thursday, 9:00 PM EDT), according to Iraqi sources. The plan is to occupy all of Ashraf, similar to the attack that took place in July 28 and 29, 2009, which left 11 dead and 500 wounded.

Also, in an ominous sign of Maliki's plan to attack Camp Ashraf unhindered and the American Embassy's approval of this plan, the US Forces Command in Iraq has ordered the US contingent that had gone to Camp Ashraf to monitor the situation to leave, according to reports from Iraq. That unit has now left the camp, thus rendering it completely vulnerable to the attack.

The United States shares responsibility for this looming disaster because all of Ashraf residents signed a joint agreement with United State in return for US protection. According to Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the US is responsible for the safety and security of our loved ones in Ashraf who have been recognized as "protected persons" under this Convention.

The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents calls on Obama administration to abide by its legal, moral and humanitarian obligations and prevent the planned attack on 3,400 camp's residents including 1,000 women.

So far:

  • At least 154 armored personnel carriers and military vehicles transporting reinforcement troops have entered Camp Ashraf.
  • Columns of combat and engineering vehicles have been deployed in and around Camp Ashraf.
  • There are ambulances and fire trucks on the scene in anticipation of casualties.
  • Anti-riot police with trained dogs and armed with firearms, sticks, batons and clubs have also been brought in.
  • The camp's access to water has been cut off since five hours ago.
The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents urgently calls on the Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to act, consistent with the US international and treaty obligations and in the spirit of sentiments expressed in the US Senate and a bi-partisan majority in the House of Representatives (H.Res.704, 111th Congress), and personally and urgently intervene to prevent a human catastrophe for our loved ones in Camp Ashraf.

SOURCE US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR)