Iranian Americans, US Dignitaries, Faith Community Leader Denounce SRSG's Conduct, Urge UN Security Council, Secretary General to Ensure Protection of Thousands of Iranian Dissidents in Iraq

NEW YORK, July 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

On Thursday, July 16, 2013, hundreds of Iranian American rallied outside the United Nations Headquarters calling for guaranteeing the rights of Iranian refugees in Iraq, members of the opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The protest coincided with the UN Security Council deliberations on extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq.

Some 3100 Iranian exiles are residing at Camp Liberty near Baghdad and despite repeated assurances by the UN and US, they have been subject to three rocket attacks by the agents of the Iranian regime in recent months, killing 10 of the dissidents and wounding 170. The agents of the terrorist Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards have vowed to carry out further attacks against the defenseless residents. The protestors called for return of the refugees to relative safety of Camp Ashraf, former home of the refugees for 26 years.

A number of dignitaries including former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Col. Wesley Martin, former commandant of Camp Ashraf, Iraq addressed the rally.

Protestors strongly condemned the remarks of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler at the UN Security Council and urged the UN to pressure Iraqi government to open Camp Liberty to outside observers to prove the bogus nature of his claims.  

They pointed out that through lies, fabrications and falsification of reports, Kobler deceived the residents, the international community and other parties into believing that Camp Liberty was on par with humanitarian standards and that it would only serve as a temporary transit facility. Camp Liberty has twice been described as a prison by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in recent months.

"The UN should reject the statement of Martin Kobler, or else the UN will become complicit with the lies of Martin Kobler, and if the UN becomes complicit with the lies of Martin Kobler, and there is another attack on Camp Liberty as has been threatened to happen, there is going to be blood on the hands of the UN Security Council," former Congressman Patrick Kennedy said.

Ms. Tutu, a renowned human rights activist added that the United Nations and the United States were responsible for the protection of Camp Liberty residents, because it was they who insisted that the residents relocate from Ashraf. UN and the US should stand up to their values and commitments.

In a press conference in New York on Thursday, lawyers of the families of Camp Liberty residents submitted a petition to the Security Council, the Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights demanding that the Security Council require the immediate return of Camp Liberty Residents to Camp Ashraf and designate Camp Ashraf as a UN-Flagged Refugee Camp under UNHCR control.

They demanded that  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon initiate a thorough personnel investigation into SRSG Kobler's alleged misconduct and given the emergency situation, UNCHR should grant refugee status to all Residents through a group determination; and in accordance with its mandate take full responsibility for the Residents in Ashraf and Liberty, and provide them international protection.

SOURCE American Iranian Council (New Jersey) and The Iranian American Society of New York (IAS)




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