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UN has failed to protect Camp Liberty residents – Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

NCRI – The failure of the United Nations and the Government of Iraq to protect the thousands of Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty, near Baghdad, led to last month’s deadly rocket attack on the group which left two dozen residents killed and many more injured, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House of Representatives Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, said at a Congressional briefing on November 5.

“I want to offer my most sincere condolences to the victims, to the family members, to their friends and families of this most recent and deadly and deplorable attack on Camp Liberty, that has left two dozen dead, and scores more injured,” Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said, referring to the October 29 rocket attack on members of the main Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI or MEK) in Camp Liberty by agents of the Iranian regime.

“This attack could have been predicted. … The residents of Camp Liberty are under constant threat of attack. This was not the first time, and sadly, we know that unless we get the help and the assistance this will not be the last time.”

“This attack should have been prevented. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations, it clearly spells out the Iraqis are responsible for providing additional security for the residents of Camp Liberty to assure their safety and also to hold accountable those responsible for the attacks against the camp. So the Iraqi government failed, the United Nations failed. We must not allow this great country of ours to also fail.”

“We’ve got to have additional security for the Camp Liberty residents, and we’ve got to find those responsible and hold them accountable. But however, as we are all so painfully aware, the Iraq government has utterly failed to live up to these obligations, despite repeated calls from Congress.”

“I even spoke personally with Prime Minister Abadi about the lack of security at Camp Liberty when I traveled to Iraq with Speaker Boehner earlier this year. I spoke to him face to face and said we cannot allow these residents to be unprotected.”

“I understand that many issues facing Iraq today. But there is no excuse for ignoring the obligation that they signed under this Memorandum of Understanding.”

“First the Iraqi government must send in an emergency medical team to examine, to treat, and to evacuate any remaining wounded. They need urgent medical care. They’re not going to get it unless we push. Then it must undertake a complete and thorough investigation into this latest attack and determine who is responsible and bring those perpetrators to justice. The Iraqi government must also honor its obligations under the Memorandum of Understanding. Not just some, but all of its obligations. That’s the reason that there was a signed, legal, binding document. That means protecting and securing the camp, allowing freedom of movement for the residents, and guaranteeing a standard of living that is set out in the MoU.”

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said the Iraqi government ought to replace the officials currently in charge of handling Camp Liberty’s dossier.

“We need new leadership there. We need a new person in charge who’s going to really take care of the residents. If one thing is clear it is that whoever is responsible for securing the camp and protecting the residents has failed miserably, and this attack and all the previous attacks painfully demonstrate that. How much proof do we need? It is way past time for the government of Iraq to reassess the security that it is providing to the camp, or the lack of security, the lack of security to the residents, and assign a new protective detail, one that will do the job, one that will really protect the residents.”

Related news: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen urges Kerry to act on Camp Liberty