|LORD KING OF WEST BROMWICH|
|Tuesday, 28 February 2012 21:01|
Thank you chairman, good afternoon ladies and gentleman
We remember last Saturday almost 400 residents of Camp Ashraf actually moved to Camp so called Liberty, which I very much doubt how much liberty they are going to get there, and when they got there they found that they were lied to not only by Mr Kobler but UNAMI and other people as well. This was quite obvious; that a lot of people from this country lawyers from US officials and British Parliamentarians asked the camp authority that they can go there on their own expense to see the conditions of the new camp, all their calls were ignored. So it was quite obvious what conditions they are going to find and that was exactly what happened.
So the conditions of the new site as we all expected were subhuman but the residents of Ashraf with mediation of the President-elect Mrs Rajavi, still compromised to move to that camp. And they came cross the bullying and deceptions all the way through.
Because of the actions of UNAMI and because of Mr Kobler’s public statements including his article in the New York Times on February the 15th, Iraqi government dodged number of questions and seemed to have been given an open hand by the UNAMI to do whatever they want and breach any international law as they please in handling the case of Camp Ashraf.
While the Iraqi government has already failed living up to its responsibilities with regards to Ashraf residents, we all remember the brutal attacks and the 24/7 siege imposed on the Camp which resulted in so many deaths of the people of Camp Ashraf, Mr Kobler and UNAMI have rushed to their aid through articles and biased statements blaming the victims, the residents of Camp Ashraf, for delaying the process contrary to their mandate which is actually to protect them, protecting the civil populations which they failed to do.
In his New York Times article Mr Kobler clearly coerces the residents of Ashraf to “voluntarily” move or be subject to violence; he says “the government’s patience is wearing thin, and further delay could lead to provocation and violence.”
More troubling is the language of his article where on one hand he calls on the international community to step in “to aid Iraq’s Iranian exiles” and on the other hand he accuses the residents for fighting “alongside Saddam Hussein” and being “designated by the United States and some other governments as a terrorist organization”, the same language that has repeatedly used by the Iranian regime’s news agencies and its Press TV.
Despite this; despite the UN looking away when the rights of the refugees are trampled upon; the residents have now taken the first step and moved to Camp Liberty conditions of which are totally contrary to the assertion that “the new camp meets the humanitarian standards it [UNHCR] applies for refugee situations around the world” since their most basic rights and freedoms are dashed away. And so we are faced with two new definitions of moving people “voluntary” and “humanitarian standards” which are in worse conditions than prisons.
You must have seen the reports about the conditions of Camp Liberty. When the residents arrived there they found that even the technical reports that the camp meets the technical standards for refugees’ living quarters were false if not deliberate deception.
Now the 400 residents of Ashraf are at Camp Liberty the moment of truth has arrived for Mr Kobler and Iraqi government. The treatment of this first group of the residents will be a measure of goodwill and a test not only for UNAMI but also for the Iraqi government.
So far there are no indications that would give us confidence since Mr Kobler has openly put the safety of the refugees in the hands of their killers and those who committed mass murder against them in July 2009 and on 8 April 2011.
We are watching the situation very carefully and expect the following to be implemented at Camp Liberty without any reservation. Anything less and any further violence or bloodshed against the residents will be the responsibility of UNAMI and the international community.
We in this meeting should expect the following to be guaranteed by the UN, US and EU since the Iraqi government cannot be trusted in any way and there is no point repeating in statements that the responsibility for the protection lies on Iraqi government. So I say it loud and clear from this podium hoping the Mr Kobler and UNAMI in Iraq will hear it. These points must be respected:
1- The Iraqi police and Iraqi armed forces must be placed outside the new camp for the safety of the residents especially the Muslim women living there. It should also be self-evident that presence of representatives or agents of the Iranian regime inside or around Camp Liberty must be strictly stopped.
2- The residents must be permitted to take along their vehicles and their movable property to camp Liberty with no limitation. Measures must be taken to sell the rest of their belongings in order to use the proceeds to cover their expenses in Camp Liberty and expenses related to their final relocation to third countries.
3- The UNHCR process must be started without further delay. I suggest the rest of the interviews for those who are still at Ashraf be done right there or somewhere close to Ashraf. It has been done before and would not be difficult to do it again.
4- The wellbeing and security of all the residents should be guaranteed until their final transfer to third countries. Nobody should be arrested for trumped up charges and no one should be relocated to another place without his or her consent.
5- The residents in Camp Liberty should have freedom of movement as well as unrestricted access to medical services, lawyers, family members and journalist.
From now on I sincerely hope that the office of UNAMI will stop compromising the legal rights of protected persons and asylum seekers recognised by UNHCR and instead attempt securing protection of the residents and their safe passage to third countries.
Protection of the people of Ashraf is a humanitarian responsibility of the civilised world and a test for our humanitarian safeguards, but it is also a politically correct thing to do if we are interested in peace and tranquillity for the Middle East and for the world at large. It is also good for the people of Iran who have demonstrated time and again that they deserve to live in freedom and democracy.
And finally I finish by repeating what Lord Corbett used to say. Iran will be free one day. I assure you that his parliamentary colleagues will continue that fight until Robin’s dream of seeing Iranian people free is realised. Thank you.
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