Camp Liberty Residents Launch Protest Against Inhuman Iraqi Logistical Siege

Call on US, UN for Action

Earlier this week, a number of residents in Camp Liberty – neighboring Baghdad International Airport – rallied and protested the logistical siege imposed by the Iraqi government on the residents of this camp.

The inhumane logistical siege on Iranian dissidents, opposition members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), following the transfer of their security and protection from the US government to Baghdad in 2009, continues to this very day.

Due to this blockade the camp residents are enduring harsh conditions while deprived of minimum construction supplies and gasoline.

UN vehicle at Camp Liberty ignoring the protest
UN vehicle at Camp Liberty ignoring the protest

This is taking place while the Iraqi government under Maliki prevented the transfer of the residents’ property, especially their dire daily construction and medical needs, from Ashraf to Liberty.

Protesters say UNAMI abrogates its responsibilty
Protesters say UNAMI abrogates its responsibilty

Based on an agreement signed between UNAMI, Washington and Baghdad with the residents, after the transfer to Liberty the residents’ property should have been sold by their owners to provide for their daily expenses in the new site and their resettlement in other countries. However, the Iraqi government has not only prevented this sale to enthusiastic merchants, in fact following the 1 September 2013 massacre in Ashraf at the hands of Iraqi forces and Iranian regime militants, their property in their previous home was plundered, now leaving the residents facing difficulties providing for their expenses and their resettlement to third countries.

“According to the agreement we had with UNAMI, we were to have all our property and supplies transferred from Ashraf to Liberty and/or have them sold,” said a resident taking part in this rally. “But unfortunately, the UN and US government did not live up to any of their commitments. Therefore, we are facing serious problems regarding our most fundamental necessities in Liberty, and during the winter cold and rainy season we cannot even repair and water-proof our paper-thin trailers that were damaged in the missile attacks.”

“We have gathered here today to protest the logistical siege imposed on Camp Liberty, while we had many equipment and supplies back in Ashraf,” said an ill resident by the name of Nawid Karimi

UNAMI operates under orders from Iraqi/Iranian intelligence service
UNAMI operates under orders from Iraqi/Iranian intelligence service

“However, the UN and US government went back on their pledges while they had promised we would be able to sell our belongings and property after our transfer from Ashraf to Liberty, or have them brought to Liberty. Unfortunately, to this day not only has this remained impossible but also the Iraqi forces have imposed and inhumane logistical and medical siege on us and UNAMI has remained silent. Today, we are having problems even about our most fundamental necessities needed for daily life.” Said another resident participated in the protest.

“It has been nearly three years since we have come to Liberty and we have not enjoyed even minimum life necessities, and Iraqi security forces have always resorted to various excuses to prevent the delivery of such necessities into the camp,” said Ehsan Rahmani, another Camp Liberty resident. “All their measures are aimed at psychologically torturing us. It has been nearly 5 weeks now that they have prevented the delivery of gasoline into the camp, and this while we are in the winter season.”

The residents of this camp are members of the Iranian democratic opposition that have lived for more than two decades in Iraq as political refugees, previously in Camp Ashraf located north of Baghdad. They were forced by the Nouri Maliki government – at the behest of the Iranian regime – to move to this camp next to Baghdad airport, which is actually a prison lacking standard infrastructure for refugees’ daily lives.

Abandoned By The International Community

22 people died in the Iraqi imposed medical siege
22 people died in the Iraqiimposed medical siege

To this day, 22 of these residents have lost their lives due to the medical siege imposed on Ashraf, and now continuing in Liberty, and dozens of others have been killed and injured in missile attacks.

The UN and US government promised had provided guarantees to the residents, all considered ‘protected persons’ under the 4th Geneva Convention and ‘persons of concern’ as stated by the UNHCR, regarding their safety, security and access to basic life necessities in Camp Liberty under international laws. However, all of these guarantees have been violated and pledges broken.

World leaders, such as Ban Ki Moon, Barack Obama, the UK’s David Cameron, Australia’s Tony Abbott, who was in Iraq over the weekend, Francois Hollande of France, and Angela Merkel of Germany do not seem to care that their Iraqi “partner” is acting at the behest of Iran.

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.