Urgent Action Needed to Return Liberty Residents to Ashraf


In an international conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on 27th of Feb., political and human rights figures from Sweden, Europe, and United States stressed an urgent action is needed by the United Nations to return Liberty residents to Ashraf before a greater massacre takes place. This conference was convened by mayor of Geneva, Remy Pagani.

Speakers at the conference included Gov. Ed Rendell, Leader of the US Democratic Party (1999-2001) and Governor of Pennsylvania (2002-2011); Gunter Verheugen, European Commissioner (1999-2009); John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations; Patrick Kennedy, Member of US House of Representatives (1995-2011); Ingrid Betancourt, Columbian presidential candidate; Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former prime minister of Algeria; Eric VoruzO The Swiss Member of Parliment; Jean Ziegler, Deputy UN Human Rights Advisory Committee; and Tahar Boumedra, former senior UN official in Iraq and in charge of Ashraf and Liberty file for 3.5 years.

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The speakers pointed out that initial transfer from Ashraf to Liberty, which is a prison according to the assessments of UN professional organs, was carried out against the will of residents by giving specific assurances on the UN’s behalf, for their security and protection; however, the February 9th attack proved that the notion of security and protection in Liberty is nothing but a mirage, and the Iranian regime intends to turn it into a killing field with the complicity of the Iraqi government.

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In addition to the lives of 3,100 defenseless refugees, the credibility and reputation of the United Nations as the highest international body and commitments by its highest authorities is at stake.

In another event in Geneva, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, on February 28th, in a meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations, referred to the immediate danger threatening the lives of 3100 residents of Liberty Prison at any moment.

Maryam Rajavi described the only options available to solve this humanitarian catastrophe as “the one-phase transfer of all the residents to America by the United States” or “returning all residents to Ashraf until their transfer to third countries,” adding:

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“In such conditions, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees is the only competent international organ that must quickly assume its full responsibility of Ashraf and Liberty residents as refugees, officially demand their return to Ashraf, and enter dialogue with relevant governments and the UN to realize this security necessity.”

In this meeting, Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, Struan Stevenson, MEP and Chairman of the EP Delegation for relations with Iraq, Tahar Boumedra, former advisor to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq and former chief of the Human Rights section of UNAMI, Anne-Marie Lizin, Honorary President of the Belgian Senate, former Special Rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty, Alfred Zayas, Special Rapporteur on democratic and equitable international order, Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Algerian Prime Minister, Ryszard Czarnecki, MEP from Poland, Juan Garces, international lawyer, former adviser of Chilean president Salvador Allende, and Christian Zimmerman, Chairman of the Office for Human Rights and Minority Affairs in Berlin, gave speeches.

In describing the mandatory transfer of Ashraf residents from their 26-year residence, Maryam Rajavi revealed Martin Kobler’s continuous deceits and lies, and asked: “Was the Special Representative facilitating the formation of this killing field out of his negligence or inexperience? No, because we had warned him more than 20 times in this regard.”

Expressing gratitude for UNHCR’s timely stance in condemning this attack, President-elect of the Resistance said, “But this Commission as the highest body involved with refugees has not lived up to its direct responsibility regarding the PMOI members in camps Ashraf and Liberty. Rejection of pressures from Government of Iraq for residents’ forcible eviction and confirming their collective and encompassing refugee status could have worked as an obstacle against repressive measures of Government of Iraq. Unfortunately, this did not happen.”

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.