Iraqi Regime Imposes Inhuman Medical Siege in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty

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The medical siege imposed against residents of Ashraf/Liberty by Iraqi forces loyal to the Iranian regime has so far claimed the lives of 21 Iranian refugees

A video contains messages recorded by patients and families of victims of medical siege invite all to join a campaign to lift this inhuman Siege.

Simultaneously, a press statement issued by the Physicians and Academicians Society for Defense of Human Rights in Iraq, about “2034 physicians and medical staff in Iraqi hospitals called the medical siege on Camp Liberty a crime against humanity, and asked for its immediate removal.” They also declared in their statement that:

571 physicians and 1463 medical staff from Iraqi hospitals condemned in a statement the medical and logistical siege imposed on the residents of Camp Liberty, who are under the protection of international law, considered it as blatant example of crime against humanity, and asked for its immediate removal and free access of Liberty resident to medical services.

Liberty residents, members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) in Iraq, have been suffering from a tyrannical siege in all grounds for more than five years. The most inhuman aspect of this blockade is in medical services. This matter has so far resulted in the gradual death of 21 residents. The latest case was Mr. Taghi Abbassian who passed away on 18 September 2014 due to being denied necessary medical care by the Iraqi committee tasked with repression of the residents. Furthermore, the lives of more patients in the camp are being threatened seriously, and should this blockade not be removed quickly, more irrecoverable humanitarian losses are in prospect.

Protected Persons Under International Law

Camp Liberty residents are refugees who have long been residing in Iraq legally, and they were recognized as protected persons under international law in 2004. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) introduced them as ‘people of concern’ in 2011.

Thereby, denying access to medical care in Iraq is a flagrant violation of human rights and humanitarian rights against the residents.

The UNHCR has announced in 11 statements that the residents of Liberty should enjoy freedom of movement and access to vital medical care.

While addressing the U.S. and the UN that are responsible vis-a-vis Liberty residents’ safety and security and have legal and moral commitment in this regard, the signatories of the statement asked for medical care to be provided immediately to all the patients at Camp Liberty and giving priority to patients with acute illnesses, such as cancer, by immediate realization of the following:

  1. Free access of Liberty residents to medical services
  2. Freedom of movement for Liberty residents to have access to doctors and hospitals in Iraq to resolve their medical problems
  3. Transferring from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty the necessary medical equipment of the residents that has all been purchased at their own expense

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.