United Nations and the Iraqi Government today signed an agreement that the Iraqi Government will relocate the residents of Camp New Iraq, formerly known as Camp Ashraf, to a temporary transit location.
The important agreement stipulates on providing temporary relocation and eventual resettlement of the more than 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will also start a process of refugee status determination, a necessary first step for their resettlement outside Iraq.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the pact between the United Nations and the Iraqi Government, saying the pact lays the foundation for a peaceful and durable solution to the issue.
Mr. Ban said in a statement that the agreement respects both Iraq’s sovereignty and the country’s international humanitarian and human rights obligations.
The MoU was the result of intense negotiations between Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, and representatives of the Iraqi Government.
Mr. Ban reiterated that the Government of Iraq has a clear and exclusive responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the residents as stipulated in the MoU. At the same time, the residents of camp New Iraq have to abide by the laws of Iraq.
Mr. Ban urged all concerned parties to continue to demonstrate flexibility and good faith and move towards the swift implementation of the relocation plan.
Situated in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, Camp Ashraf houses members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran. The Iraqi Government has repeatedly stated its intention to close down the camp by 31 December and to transfer residents to another location until countries willing to accept them for resettlement are found.