Press Release 27 February 2013 - Switzerland, Geneva and the relevant international organizations based there must defend the residents of Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, as they are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Mayor of Geneva, Mr. Remy Pagani, as well as the President of the Municipal Council, Mr. Jean-Charles Rielle, welcomed Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Iranian Resistance, on Wednesday 27 February and condemned the rocket attack on last 9 February against Camp Liberty.
The Mayor of Geneva declared: "This deadly attack is a blow to the 1949 and 1951 Geneva Conventions, because all the residents of Liberty, including the 7 victims killed during this attack and the hundred wounded, are refugees who should be protected within the framework of international humanitarian law." Explaining that the Geneva Conventions were signed in the Alabama Room of the Canton of Geneva, Mr. Pagani went on: Geneva and Switzerland are the guardians of the Geneva Conventions and cannot remain silent before the fate of the residents of Ashraf and Liberty and the crimes from which they suffer. It is now five years since thousands of protected persons suffer constant pressure, killings and psychological tortures. Up to today, 56 people have lost their lives and 1,300 have been wounded.
The Mayor of Geneva added that the international organizations based in Geneva, including the United Nations Agency for refugees, the High Commission for Human Rights and the ICRC, have a duty to act in this regard and, as a first gesture, to return the people now in Liberty to their home in Ashraf, where their safety will be more easily ensured and where they lived for 26 years before being forced to abandon it. The protection guaranteed by international humanitarian law must be given to them. These people must obtain the status of refugees, protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Remaining silent in the face of such a situation encourages the Iraqi Government and the Iranian regime to pursue a policy of repression and slaughter of the residents. This silence must stop immediately and be turned into active intervention.
Text of Speach by Moayor Remy Pagani:
M. Rémy Pagani - Ladies and Gentlement, dear friends, This is a solemn moment for the city, I am speaking of the city in the most noble sense of the word, having received Mr Marzouki, President of Tunisia, who was a resistance member, today we are receiving Maryam Rajavi, who is also a resistance member, in order to establish, in the name of democratic values, of social justice, of the people's good, to establish a new regime in Iran. And I'm very proud to do so, I must say, in the name of the authorities of the City of Geneva: Welcome, Welcome.
I forgot to introduce my friend, the President of the Municipal Council, Mr. Jean-Charles Rielle, who was also, like many other people in the hall, among those who tirelessly support the resistance of the Iranian people, and also Mr. Behzad Naziri, who is the person I have most often met on the train between Geneva and Paris, and who supports, it must be repeated, supports the people who for I don't know how many days, 600 or 660 ?, have been in front of the UN day and night, it's even been necessary to put some infrastructure in place to provide more or less acceptable conditions for these people who are picketing the place so as to protest against the intolerable, Ladies and Gentlemen, intolerable situation since the Americans left Iraq, who have understood the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, which they came to sign here, the Geneva Conventions that protect combatants, all combatants who have laid down their arms.
These Geneva Conventions protect all combatants and oblige all States, I insist on this idea, oblige all States to protect combatants who lay down their arms. The Americans had understood that. The Iraqis, unfortunately, I have to say, haven't understood very well and are even complicit in these attacks, these crime which have been committed in Ashraf and now in Liberty too. It was done voluntarily, and I say it today because of proven facts, and I am also determined to say and I shall say it again, before the Conference which is to take place at the Building of Forces Motrices.
I want first of all to present my sincere condolences to the Iranian people and to Mrs Rajavi who represents them, who represents these refugees, and all my sympathy in the face of these murders, of these people who were murdered by, it's known now, by groups who were sanctioned by the Iraqi Government, who have ... whose armed wing is the Iranian Government and who have come to attack combatants, who laid down their arms, with rockets and kill them, who were caught red-handed - one day the International Criminal Court must grasp that problem - who voluntarily attacked Camp Liberty. I'm determined to protest, at least if anyone in this republic is going to do so it will be me, protest in the name of the authorities at this violation of the Geneva Conventions.
In fact Mrs Rajavi has come here for the support she has been requesting for years, which we have been requesting for years, the support of the HCR, the Swiss Government and the UN. And unfortunately, there too there must be criticism, it must be called to account and we must question ourselves on this silence, I have to say it, perhape a benevolent silence, but it's still true that in fact, on a concrete level, there are people representing the UN on the spot, who have not protested against these attacks and especially the last insane one. This silence is complicit in this breach, this denial of the Geneva Conventions.