The World Medical Association Deplores Inhuman Medical Siege in Camp Liberty

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In US and UN Turning A Deaf Ear To Medical Siege in Camp Liberty it was reported that the government of Iraq is depriving terminally ill and cancer patients, of medical treatment.

Depriving people of medical treatment is considered a crime against humanity. This horrific crime is politically motivated, carried out by Iraqi security forces loyal to the Iranian regime in the old American camp adjacent to Baghdad airport ironically named ‘Liberty‘, all under the eyes of the UN.

The United Nations and the United States may say they didn’t know anything about this terrible siege, which is causing the deaths of many of the Camp Liberty Residents. If that is the UN response it is only because they are purposely blocking out the pleas, because they have received many communications about this, and hundreds of stories have been written about it. The US knows this is happening, but they are saying nothing and doing nothing.

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These types of events are repeated every day in Camp Liberty and the question that comes to mind is that isn’t it enough that 22 innocent human beings have lost their lives for the UN and US government that had officially given these individuals commitments about their safety and security – to take some kind of action? Or do we have to wait see even more lives be lost?

The World Medical Association with over two million physician members globally has heard about this, and now the organization has written a letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister expressing extreme concern over the “worrying health conditions” in Camp Liberty.

The Association said this situation, which the UN is ignoring, “reveals flagrant violations of medical ethics principles and human rights standards.”

Part of the WMA press release reads:

“In a letter delivered today to the Prime Minister Hon Dr. Haider al-Abadi, the President of the WMA Dr. Xavier Deau, writes: ‘According to testimonies and reports from human rights organisations the basic rights of the 2700 residents – such as access to physicians and medicine, the confidentiality of physician-patient relationship or the right of patients to have interpreter and accompanying nurses when needed – are frequently violated.

‘Furthermore, numerous reported cases relate to situations where hospitalisation of patients and purchase of medicine have been prevented. Other examples include cancellation of medical appointments, delayed transfers of patients to hospital, or denial of permission to travel outside the Camp to receive treatment. These on-going obstructions have resulted in the rapid deterioration of the health conditions of several patients of the Camp Liberty and even in the death of some.’

Dr. Deau continued: ‘We are extremely concerned by this situation that reveal flagrant violations of medical ethics principles and human rights standards. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is a fundamental element of human rights enshrined in article 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights that Iraq has ratified in 1971. ‘We urge the Iraqi authorities to respect its commitment and take action as a matter of urgency in order to ensure to the residents of the Camp Liberty full access to adequate health care facilities, whether inside or outside the camp. It is also fundamental that health personnel work with the assurance that medical ethics principles, such as confidentiality, are entirely respected without any reservation.’

What will the Government of Iraq do? What will the United States of America do? What will the United Nations do? Based on past performance, the answers are likely to be: “Make it worse,” “nothing,” and “nothing.”

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.