Saturday, 21 May 2011

MPs, Peers back European Parliament solution to Camp Ashraf crisis .

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom on Thursday welcomed a proposal by the European Parliament offering a long-term solution to the humanitarian crisis at Camp Ashraf, Iraq, where 3,400 Iranian dissidents are based.

On 8 April 2011, Iraqi armed forces launched a premeditated and unprovoked attack on the unarmed and defenceless refugees in the camp, killing 27 men and 8 women and injuring 350 others.

The attack was ordered by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the request of the Iranian regime. Our committee fears further armed attacks on Ashraf residents by the Iraqi authorities without immediate UN takeover of protection of the residents.

The European Parliament's delegation for relations with Iraq, led by Struan Stevenson MEP, travelled to Iraq last month and brokered a deal for a possible resettlement of the residents in the US and Europe with the help of relevant United Nations bodies. But it warned that such a deal could only be possible if Iraq withdraws its military forces from the camp, lifts the siege on the residents, allows the injured access to proper medical care and cooperates with an independent international investigation into the crimes committed on 8 April.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, which is supported by a majority of MPs and over 200 Peers, strongly supports these preconditions to any possible permanent solution to the crisis in Camp Ashraf. If Iraq is serious in finding a negotiated solution, it must first fulfil these basic demands that are in line with the residents' rights under international law and the Geneva Conventions.

Our committee also welcomes the remarks yesterday by EU foreign policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton at the European Parliament in condemnation of the Iraqi attack on Ashraf and reiterating Iraq's "duty to protect the human rights of Ashraf residents".

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
12 May 2011


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