What’s Causing Delay of Relocation of Ashraf Residents to Camp Liberty?


With utmost flexibility requested by Mrs. Rajavi, 400 residents of Ashraf are waiting for the U.S., UN, EU and GoI to agree to and sign the ‘Executive Document for Arrangements of Transfer’ to Camp Liberty.

On February 2nd, while welcoming the UN suggestion for dialogue with the Government of Iraq to provide minimum assurances for transfer of Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, stressed once again on the readiness of 400 Ashraf residents to be transferred to Camp Liberty along with their vehicles and movable assets in the context of UNHCR statement of February 1st. She called for signing the ‘Executive Document for Arrangements of Transfer’ that embodies “humanitarian and human rights standards”.

The MOU signed on 25 December 2011 by Mr. Kobler, and the Government of Iraq explicitly says: GOI ensures “The transit locations meet humanitarian and human rights standards”, whereas nobody has yet certified these standards in regard to Camp Liberty.

On February 4th, ‘Executive Document for Arrangements of Transfer’ was discussed in detail with UN officials so that after being agreed to by the GOI, first group of Ashraf residents may go to Camp Liberty.

On February 6th, a GOI representative and Deputy SRSG talked with the representative and legal advisors of Ashraf residents at the Iraqi battalion headquarters outside the camp regarding the arrangements for transfer. Nevertheless, nothing has been signed and finalized yet and has been put off to the next negotiations.

Mr. Mohammad Mohaddessin, the representative of Ashraf residents outside Iraq, said in response to the reporters in this regard: UN officials know well that the Ashraf residents who have relinquished many of their rights upon Mrs. Rajavi’s request, are waiting for the U.S., UN, EU and the GOI to agree to and sign a one page ‘Executive Document for Arrangements of Transfer’ to Camp Liberty. Subsequently, the first group of 400 residents- showing maximum flexibility on the number of vehicles and utility trucks needed for starting up Camp Liberty where even does not have water for drinking or washing- will move within a week.

On February 7th, the European-American conference in the European Parliament announced in its statement: “The camp does not meet international human rights and humanitarian standards. In this regard the conference, in order to clarify any misunderstanding, called for an “Executive Document of the Arrangements of Transfer” to be signed by the Special Representative, the representatives of residents, and government of Iraq to prevent Iraq from violating oral commitments as it has done in the past.”

It is worth noting that while referring to the GOI’s obstruction from the beginning of this process in Ashraf, UNHCR pointed out in its February 1ststatement regarding refugee status determination of Ashraf residents: ” The stipulation of the Government of Iraq remains that these processes take place outside Camp New Iraq, in the new location which is being provisioned to enable the residents voluntarily to move there and to stay on a temporary basis in safe and decent conditions. UNHCR has been advising on the technicalities of improving the camp infrastructure. *

UNHCR attaches utmost importance to peaceful solutions being found, including that any relocation outside Camp New Iraq proceed on a voluntary basis, with freedom of movement the most desirable state at the site of relocation”.

Ashraf residents, their families, their lawyers, the Iranian sit-in protesters in Geneva and Washington, and the regional and international committees in defense of Ashraf residents’ rights urge Secretary Clinton, Baroness Ashton and the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to support signing the ‘Executive Document of the Arrangements of Transfer’ by the GOI so that prompt relocation of Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty would be possible and guaranteed.

Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and human rights activist who is a member of Iranian opposition, PMOI. He graduated from Texas State University, USA. Connect with him on Twitter.