Hundreds of Ashraf Residents in Urgent Need of Medical Care; U.S., UNAMI Must Intervene to End Inhumane Siege of Ashraf

Feb 18, 2010, 08:00 ET from U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seven months after the Iraqi forces' deadly and unprovoked assault on the defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, members of Iran's main opposition People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the continued inhumane and unlawful siege of the camp has put the lives of hundreds of its residents in great peril.

The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR), representing U.S. families and relatives of the residents, strongly condemns the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's inhumane crackdown on Ashraf residents which is clearly designed to placate the Iranian regime.

USCCAR calls on President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Hill, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), to intervene to ensure the immediate end to the siege of Ashraf.

An almost blanket ban on medical care and supplies is now one of the most critical problems at Ashraf. Many residents are suffering from incurable diseases and a large number of those wounded during the July raid suffer permanent injuries.

Iraqi forces, acting on orders from Committee for the Closure of Ashraf in the Prime Minister's Office, have prevented specialist doctors from visiting Ashraf. As a result many cases have turned malignant and can no longer be cured. A number of patients are losing their vision and several women are suffering from cancer.

Compounding the medical crisis is the prevention of fuel delivery to Ashraf in recent months. Food supplies are only allowed following lengthy inspections, resulting in the food turning rotten.

In recent days, in collusion with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), al-Maliki's government has transported a number of MOIS agents under the guise of families of the residents to the gate of Ashraf to exert further pressure on them. Ashraf families, meanwhile, are barred from visiting the Camp.

Iraqi authorities have refused issuing visas to US and European lawyers of the residents. European parliamentarians, human rights and religious organizations and dignitaries are also barred. Moreover, the Iraqi government still intends to forcibly transfer the residents of Ashraf to an inhabitable detention center near the Saudi border.

The 3,400 residents of Ashraf are protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. These restrictions violate international law as well as International Humanitarian Law and constitute crimes against humanity.

SOURCE U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents