Former UN chief, who supported rights of Camp Ashraf Iranians, passes away

Written by Staff Writer on .

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a veteran Egyptian diplomat, the first U.N. Secretary General from the African continent and a supporter of rights of Iranian opposition members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, died on Tuesday at age 93.

Boutros-Ghali stepped into the post in 1992 at a time of dramatic world changes, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

U.N. Security Council members stood in a silent tribute on Tuesday.

Boutros-Ghali died Tuesday at a Cairo hospital, Egypt’s state news agency said.

In his farewell speech to the U.N., Boutros-Ghali said he had thought when he took the post that the time was right for the United Nations to play an effective role in a world no longer divided into warring Cold War camps.

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary General on July 9, 2011 he warned about massacres against Iranian opposition members in Camp Ashraf and described their forcible displacement as “illegal,” “a prelude to another massacre” and “a gift to the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq.”

Below is the text of the July 9, 2011 letter by the late Boutros-Ghali to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the threats facing members of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) in Iraq. The PMOI members in Camp Ashraf were later transferred to Camp Liberty, Baghdad.

Iraqi forces and the Iranian regime’s terrorist proxies have carried out a number of deadly attacks against the unarmed and defenceless residents in both camps. In the latest such case 24 Camp Liberty residents were killed in a rocket attack on October 29, 2015.

July 9, 2011

Honorable Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of' the United Nations
United Nations
New York NY 10017

Dear Mr. Secretary General,

Camp Ashraf, home to 3,400 members of the Iranian opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), was the subject of a deadly attack in April 2011 where dozens were: killed and hundreds more were wounded (The UN has confirmed 34 dead following a visit to the Camp, but since then two more have died as a result of their injuries). In a previous incident in July 2009 eleven people were killed and 500 injured.

Several governments including US, UK, Norway as well as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, have condemned the raid on Ashraf. Mrs. Pillay in a statement emphasized, "There must be an independent inquiry" and Baroness Ashton on behalf of the EU also called for an inquiry.

Since protection of Ashraf was transferred to Iraqi authorities in 2009, the Camp has been under siege. All indications point out that another attack is on the horizon. The Iraqi government has announced that Camp Ashraf will be closed by end of the year, making the residents more vulnerable.

The Iranian regime officials, including the foreign and intelligence minister, have praised the attack and called on the Iraqi government to launch another attack to wipe out the camp and its residents.

The international community cannot let another Srebrenica occur before its eyes. The world has been fully informed or the threat of another humanitarian catastrophe in much larger scale.

The suggestion of displacement within Iraq is totally illogical and does not resolve the problem. Indeed, forcible displacement of the residents is not only illegal but also a prelude to another massacre of the residents. It is a gift to the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq to realize their objective of eliminating the Ashraf residents.

Based on my experience of the region and given the risk of another imminent human tragedy, the current situation of Ashraf requires immediate action. In this context and due to the US Administration's role in the Iraqi process since 2003, also given the obligations that are subsequent to such a role at the legal, political and moral levels, I would consider relocation of all 3,400 residents or Ashraf to US territories as the most appropriate transitional and reliable way to ensure the protection of Ashraf population.

With my best regards