Iranian Dissidents Condemn Security Conditions in Camp Liberty

Iraq – Camp Liberty: Iranian dissidents protest prison-making measures, rights violations against refugees

A few thousand Iranian opposition refugees, dissidents of the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran, stationed in Camp Liberty adjacent to Baghdad International Airport held rallies protesting and condemning security conditions in the camp and the continuing all-out logistical siege imposed by Iraqi security forces loyal to the Iranian regime. They called on the UN and UNHCR to recognize Camp Liberty as a refugee camp.

According to official agreements between the UN and former Iraqi Government, along with written guarantees provided by the US government to the Iranian dissidents in Iraq, Camp Liberty was to be a temporary transit camp for their resettlement in third countries.

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However, three years after the transfer of these refugees to Camp Liberty, not only have there been no measures take to provide the conditions for their transfer, in fact the camp is under a logistical siege and has been targeted in four missile attacks, leaving dozens of defenseless camp residents killed and injured. Living conditions for them have also become much harsher.

The UN and US government have guaranteed Camp Liberty residents’ safety, security and human rights, but they have all been violated and as a result the camp has turned into a prison and death field.

Considering the security conditions in Iraq and the widespread influence of extremism and fundamentalist groups supported by the fundamentalist regime ruling in Iran, camp residents are facing new threats of massacres and killings. To this day the residents have faced dozens of violent attacks by Iraqi forces, leaving hundreds of residents killed and injured.

Given the lack of minimum security guarantees in this camp, and the fact that the residents are living in worn-out trailers without any protection, there is a serious international concern about the status quo and prospects for the future of this camp.

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The residents, in their daily rallies that are held in the main streets of the camp, hold posters and placards calling on the US government and UN to take urgent action to guarantee their protection and security.

The residents are also calling on the UNHCR to recognize this camp as a refugee camp and end prison-making measures in Liberty.

“We are gathered here today to protect the violation of our rights by Iraqi forces, and to call on the UN and US government to intervene immediately to provide our security,” one protesting resident said.

Another camp resident said Iraqi forces are committing human rights violations in Camp Liberty, and considering the missile attacks against this camp the residents’ protection and security is not guaranteed. The Obama administration and UN have moral and legal responsibilities regarding our safety and security, he added.

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.