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Catastrophe on Horizon


Ashraf Monitor, Issue 2
October 08, 2008

Amnesty International on Camp Ashraf Situation

August 28, 2008

"Those living in Camp Ashraf would be at grave risk of torture or other serious human rights violations if they were to be returned involuntarily to Iran, whether by the Iraqi authorities or by the US-led Multi-National Force (MNF).

"PMOI members living in the Camp, which is managed by the MNF, have been designated as "protected persons" under Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prevents extradition or forced repatriation to Iran as long as the US-led Multinational Force (MNF) is present in Iraq.

 

Catastrophe on Horizon for Camp Ashraf Refugees

By HON. DAVID KILGOUR, J.D.

The Middle East Times, October 08, 2008

About 3,500 refugees in Camp Ashraf, in Iraq close to an hour's drive from both Baghdad and the Iranian border, are at serious risk. They are members and supporters of the main Iranian opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), formed in the 1960s in opposition to the shah's absolute monarchy and currently seeking to replace the Iranian regime with a secular and democratic government...

This includes pressuring the outgoing George W. Bush administration to turn the protection of Ashraf over to the government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, whose ministers' comments have created no confidence whatsoever in their willingness to provide continuing adequate protection to Ashraf residents...

There are terrible examples in recent years of what can happen when the international community and the United Nations fail to protect vulnerable communities, including Rwanda, Bosnia (Srebrenica), Kosovo and Darfur. The residents of Ashraf must not be added to this "list of shame."

 

Iran's liquidation sale?

By James Zumwalt

The Washington Times, Sunday, October 5, 2008

... MEK is in a precarious position with its future survival directly tied to the U.S. occupation - the status of which is now being negotiated by Baghdad and Washington. On Sept. 4, Gen. David Petraeus said, "U.S. forces still are responsible for the security of ... MEK," but the United States has "begun the process of transition of security to Iraqi security forces."

... Knowing ongoing U.S./Iraq negotiations on a future presence of U.S. forces in Iraq provides Tehran an opportunity to finally liquidate MEK, Mr. Ahmadinejad has pressured Baghdad to disband MEK's camp and turn members over to Tehran. While Baghdad may not bend to this pressure, Iranian influence within Iraq's rank and file - entrusted to protect MEK as U.S. forces reduce their visibility - may well sound MEK's deathknell.

MEK has repeatedly shown it wishes to strengthen democracy in Iraq and counter Iranian influence. Mr. Ahmadinejad salivates over the opportunity to participate in an MEK liquidation sale - a mission given him three decades earlier. The only question remaining is whether the United States, again, will play into Iranian hands by doing so.

 

Massacre feared if Iranians in Iraq handed over

Reuters, September 5, 2008

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States risks a Srebrenica-style massacre if its forces in Iraq hand over responsibility for more than 3,000 exiled opposition Iranians to Iraqi authorities, an international lawyers' group has said. The International Committee of Jurists in Defence of Ashraf said the Iranians would be in danger as pro-Shi'ite elements of Iraq's government close to Tehran could expel them to Iran.

Camp Ashraf, 70 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, has housed Iranian refugees and the exiled opposition People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) for two decades. U.S. forces who toppled President Saddam Hussein have protected it since 2003. But the residents' fate hangs in the balance as U.S. forces negotiate the transfer of territory to Iraq's government, which says PMOI is a terrorist group, the Paris-based committee said.

"We fear we will end up with a situation like Srebrenica," said Marc Henzelin, a committee member who visited Ashraf last month, told a news briefing on Thursday. "It is like putting foxes in charge of protecting the chicken coop. We don't want to have a massacre which is foretold," the Swiss lawyer added.

 

Hundreds protest Ahmadinejad in NYC

Newsday, September 23, 2008

The lunchtime rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza attracted throngs of local high school students, and Iranian Americans also demonstrated, holding large photographs of political prisoners who were tortured and executed under the Ahmadinejad's regime.

Mitra Samani, 45, of West Hills, Calif., who is staying with family in Long Beach, said she made the cross-country trip to protest American plans to turn over Camp Ashraf, a refugee camp near Baghdad, to the Iraqi government.

Protesters said they worried Ahmadinejad would then attack the camp, where 3,500 Iranian dissident refugees live. "We are asking the General Assembly not to let Iraqi forces take over the refugee camp. Ahmadinejad will kill the refugees because they are political dissidents," said Samani, who was imprisoned for five years after attending women's rights demonstrations.

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