Euro MPs call for International Protection for Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty in Iraq
In a statement signed by 170 Members of the European Parliament representing all political groups in the Parliament, lawmakers condemned the brutal attack of 29 October 2015 on defenceless Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty in Iraq and called for international protection for these refugees.
This camp is home to over 2000 members of the Iranian opposition PMOI [MEK] which advocates for a free and secular Iran, equality between men and women and abolition of death penalty.
Residents of this camp have been repeatedly attacked and killed by Iraqi forces and Iranian regime’s militias. Despite an international outrage and repeated calls, no one has ever been arrested for these atrocities.
MEPs called for replacement of Iraqi security advisor Faleh Fayyadh, known for his close links with Iran, who is responsible for harassing the residents on a routine and humiliating basis.
The lawmakers urged the international coalition to put Camp Liberty, which is situated close to the Baghdad airport, under its aerial protection.
The statement also called for an UN-led investigation into this massacre.
MEP Gérard Deprez, chair of the Friends of a Free Iran in European Parliament, congratulated his colleagues for this overwhelming support. Speaking from Brussels, Deprez said “It is time the European Union takes serious measures and holds Iraq responsible for repeatedly failing to uphold its commitments to protect the refugees in Camp Liberty.
“We cannot just stand and watch defenceless refugees being repeatedly targeted in this way and nobody is held responsible.”
Signatories of the statement include two vice presidents of the parliament as well as 13 Committee and Delegation Chairs.
Office of Gérard Deprez MEP
Chair, Friends of a Free Iran, European Parliament
--------- TEXT OF JOINT STATEMENT BY 170 MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ------
Statement on Camp Liberty
On 29 October 2015 Camp Liberty in Iraq, where over 2000 defenceless Iranian refugees reside, was targeted with dozens of rockets and missiles.
This attack claimed the lives of 24 defenceless residents and many were seriously wounded. Camp Liberty is situated in a well-protected zone next to the Baghdad airport and such a large-scale attack, without the active involvement of the Iraqi security forces, is unlikely. This brutal attack was condemned internationally by UN, US and the EU but not by Iraq itself which has not even allowed the entry of necessary machinery to remove the damaged trailers after the attack. Also, for several days Iraq stopped the entry of food, medicine and sanitation vehicles.
In preparations for this rocket attack, months before, a group of intelligence and Quds Force agents - pretending to be relatives of the residents - were taken to the gates of the Camp for harassment and reconnaissance operations. A new group of these agents were sent to the gates of Liberty again on 20 November 2015.
This was the seventh lethal attack on these refugees as a result of which 141 people have been killed so far. Liberty is also suffering from a cruel medical siege imposed by Iraqi government which has led to the death of 27 of the residents.
These Iranian opposition members were moved in 2012 from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty which is being controlled by Iraq’s national security advisor Faleh Fayyadh who was appointed during Maliki’s government and is known for his close ties to Iran. He, along with other officers who run the camp, have all had active roles in previous massacres.
One of these officers, Colonel Sadiq Mohammed, was sent as part of an Iraqi delegation to Europe in 2012. He was prevented from entering the European Parliament in Brussels because of his role in those crimes and was later arrested and questioned in Paris.
According to two separate findings by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, conditions in Camp Liberty are those of a “detention centre.”
We urge the EU High Representative, the Member states, United States, Iraq and United Nations the following:
1- Ensure the health and safety of the residents and the supply of security requirements such as necessary amount of protective T-walls and sand bags etc. We urge the international coalition to put Camp Liberty under its aerial protection.
2- Remove the person responsible for Camp Liberty’s management, Faleh Fayyadh, and replace him and his men with impartial individuals. The transfer of Iranian agents to Camp Liberty’s gates under any circumstances must be avoided.
3- Remove the complete siege of the camp and allow the residents the freedom of movement and free access to medical services and lawyers.
4- The Iraqi government must recognize the residents’ rights of ownership and allow them to sell their property in Ashraf or compensate them financially so they can accelerate the process of resettlement.
5- The United Nations must launch an investigation into the 29 October attack and the perpetrators be brought to justice.