Iraq Denies Provision of Forklifts for Liberty Residents

A number of residents are suffering from severe hand and lower back pain, and bone disease

With the transfer of 680 residents to Liberty and while the number of residents in Liberty is more than 3000, the Iraqi government continues to put unjust pressure and restrictions and has deprived them of basic necessities.

In an inhuman act, the Iraqi government not only prevents the transfer of residents’ lift trucks from Ashraf to Liberty for carrying heavy loads, but also refuses the residents’ proposal to purchase lift trucks from the market at their own expense. Calls by the residents to the Special Representative and UNAMI in this regard have not yielded to any result. The Iraqi government has repeatedly assured the residents through Martin Kobler that is ready to provide three lift trucks with drivers to the residents (including the August 6th letter of Martin Kobler to the representative of residents).

During the seven months that have passed since the transfer of residents to Liberty, except in very limited days and hours, forklift trucks have not been provided to residents. Residents go daily to Iraqi officials to get the lift trucks but are faced with a negative response. Since September 1stonly 10 hours of lift truck use has been provided to residents while after the transfer of 680 Ashraf residents to Liberty, the need for lift trucks to move people’s belongings has increased.

Depriving residents of lift trucks is a means of physical and psychological torture against the residents. Transportation of heavy loads by hand and on their shoulders, over the past months, has caused lower back and hand pain, and bone diseases among many residents.

In yet another inhuman act, on Thursday, September 20, Iraqi officials on the order of Sadegh Mohammad Kazem, prevented the entry of flowers and very small trees to Liberty. This is while George Baccus, Maliki’s political adviser, on September 11 said in front of foreign diplomats and reporters in response to residents’ protest that “residents can bring any flower and tree less than 150 cm high”.

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.