Obama Signs Amendment to Protect Camp Liberty Residents

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Law Requires Protection of Iranian Dissidents in Camp Liberty

This week, a U.S. defense policy bill that includes amendments that had been a long time coming landed on U.S. President Barack Obama’s desk. The seven point amendment in the bill relates to the security and protection of members of the Iranian opposition group known as People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK ) in Camp Liberty, Iraq.

The bill Obama signed was already approved by both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. Obama signed it into law on 25 November 2015.

The bill with these amendments came to the president’s desk just over one month after another heavy missile barrage hit Camp Liberty In Iraq, where 24 defenceless PMOI members were killed.

Only one week ago, Iraq and Iran placed video cameras around Camp Liberty, likely to assist in refining targeting for the next missile attack.

The new law states:

The United States should –

Obama signs the bill into law.
Obama signs the bill into law.
  1. take prompt and appropriate steps in accordance with international agreements to promote the physical security and protection of residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq;
  2. urge the Government of Iraq to uphold its commitments to the United States to ensure the safety and well-being of those living in Camp Liberty;
  3. urge the Government of Iraq to ensure continued and reliable access to food, clean water, medical assistance, electricity and other energy needs, and any other equipment and supplies necessary to sustain the residents during periods of attack or siege by external forces;
  4. oppose the extradition of Camp Liberty residents to Iran;
  5. assist the international community in implementing a plan to provide for the safe, secure, and permanent relocation of Camp Liberty residents, including a detailed outline of steps that would need to be taken by recipient countries, the United States, the Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Camp residents to relocate residents to other countries;
  6. encourage continued close cooperation between the residents of Camp Liberty and the authorities in the relocation process; and
  7. assist the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in expediting the ongoing resettlement of all residents of Camp Liberty to safe locations outside Iraq.

Although this has taken a very long time, and many of the residents in Camps Ashraf and Camp Liberty have been killed, the signing of this bill into law represents a very big victory. It is a belated victory for the Iranian Resistance, the residents of Camp Liberty and their supporters in the United States, Europe and throughout the world.

Three factors contributed to this achievement:

The perseverance and steadfastness of the PMOI (MEK) members in Camp Liberty in the past few years, unrelenting endeavors of members and supporters of the resistance in the US, and concerted bipartisan efforts of the US senators and congressmen, political dignitaries, and former senior officials of the Obama, Bush, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Regan administrations in support of Iranian Resistance and residents of Camp Liberty.

The residents of Camp Liberty are classed as “protected persons” under the fourth Geneva Convention, but neither the US nor the UN have lived up to their obligations for the past seven or eight years, when Iraq allowed the Iranian regime to attack, harass and kill the unarmed PMOI residents.

The European Union, Canada and the United States formerly listed the MEK as a terrorist organization, but the designation was lifted by the European Union in 2009, following a seven year legal and political battle. It took almost four more years before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lifted the designation, and Canada followed three months later.

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.