Camp Liberty Women Launch Protest Against Iraq’s Plundering of Property


Women in Camp Liberty protesting their stolen property in Iraq

A group of women in Camp Liberty, a refugee site neighboring Baghdad airport where over 2,500 Iranian dissident have taken refuge, held a protest rally condemning the plundering of their property by Iraqi forces and militants linked to the Iranian regime.

They called on the United Nations and US government to act based on their legal and moral commitments given to the residents to transfer their remaining property from Ashraf to Camp Liberty and make arrangements for their selling.

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During this rally two UN vehicles that bring UNAMI monitoring teams to the camp on various days passed by the rally site. The protesters tried to show their posters and express their protests to the UNAMI monitors, and also share their problems with them. However, in their utmost surprise the monitors showed no reaction. One of the protesters with a small poster in her hand raised it in the final seconds when the UNAMI vehicle was passing by, in an attempt to gain their attention. I carefully looked at her poster that read: Why Is UNAMI Not Carrying Out Its Responsibility

The protesters, all being women, referred to the fact that they were prohibited from transferring their property from Ashraf to Liberty, and their selling to provide for their daily necessities in the new camp, along with their resettlement in other countries, all despite the agreements made between the relevant parties including UNAMI, US government and Iraqi government and the residents.

However, their properties and assets are being plundered and stolen by Tehran-linked militants and Iraqi forces. In this rally the residents held posters emphasizing on the agreement signed between the Iraqi government and UNAMI for the transfer or selling of their property after their settling in Camp Liberty.

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The US government and UN are responsible for our relocation to Camp Liberty and the protection of our assets in Camp Ashraf, said another protester. We trusted their guarantees and left all our assets back in Ashraf. However, they are now being plundered by Iraqi forces and the Tehranlinked militants. We need to sell our assets in Ashraf to provide for our daily expenses in Liberty, which are all on our own soldiers, along with all the heavy expenses of resettlement to third countries. However, the Iraqi government is not permitting us to sell our own property.

The bloody 1 September 2013 massacre at the hands of the Iraqi forces in Camp Ashraf that left 52 of these residents brutally murdered, while seven others – including six women – were taken hostage.

Following this tragedy UNAMI and the US government guaranteed to the residents their property in Ashraf would be sold under UNAMI supervision. Quotes from this agreement were included on the protesters’ posters in this rally. Description: Description: DSC00018 “GOI shall allow the residents to sell their property at any time,” read the large poster.

“Following the September 2013 massacre the Iraqi government and UNAMI signed an agreement ensuring us we would be able to sell our assets or have them brought to Liberty,” said a resident.

“However, our assets are now being plundered in Liberty and this agreement has been violated, and we are gathered here today to protest this inaction by UNAMI, because UNAMI officials are silence in the face of the plundering of our property in Ashraf.”

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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.