UK: British MPs Call for Protection of Iranian Refugees in Iraq

Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom, led by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, welcomed London’s swift condemnation of a recent deadly rocket attack on Camp Liberty, home to Iranian dissidents and members of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) against Tehran stationed in Iraq.

MPs commended 10 Downing Street for raising the matter at the most senior levels of diplomatic relations in Iraq and completely supported the call for “an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the incident and ensuring that all those responsible are brought to justice.”

24 camp residents lost their lives in a missile attack on October 29th, marking the 7th lethal attack from 2009 against the unarmed and defenseless Iranian refugees at the demand of the regime in Tehran to annihilate its opposition.

Similar to attacks in the past, this rocket barrage has raised a new wave of global condemnation with demands for an independent probe and the prosecution of the perpetrators.

However, six years after the initial raid, not a single individual has been held accountable. In fact, those suspected of these crimes in Iraqi government, whose ties to Tehran are known to all, actually chair the government committee responsible for all daily affairs in Camp Liberty, not to mention the security.

Camp Liberty on fire.
Camp Liberty on fire.

More than 110 British MPs had in a parliamentary motion in 2014 emphasized that how the new Baghdad government treats Liberty residents is a litmus test of its rejection of Tehran’s influence in Iraq.

These Peers also issued a warning on September 8th of this year citing new efforts by the Ayatollahs using their political influence and proxies in Baghdad to carry out a new attack against Liberty. Now, we are hearing Amnesty International and even the UNHCR warning of threats of similar lethal attacks against Camp Liberty in the not so distant future.

It is worth noting that the mentioned committee in charge of camp Liberty continues to neglect calls by the international community demanding more security for the residents. In fact, it is inflicting limitations on them in the days after the lethal rocket barrage.

In violation of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Iraq and the UN back in December 2011, and also International Law, the residents have been denied the vital supplies needed to make the camp somewhat inhabitable.

To expand the scope of the world’s involvement in this matter, the UN Security Council must issue a strong condemnation of this rocket barrage on the camp, call on the UNHCR to recognize Liberty as a refugee camp, and ask for the referral of the Liberty dossier and its management to an institute with no link to Tehran.

The world’s highest council should get involved by taking appropriate action to bring an end to the continuing restrictions on Camp Liberty, including providing the residents permission to erect buildings in the camp, returning protective T-walls, helmets and protective vests, along with desperately needed medical equipment.

Last week these British Peers also issued a letter to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the UK Mission to the UN in New York, backed by more than 40 members of the Houses of Lords and Commons, calling on London to place these immediate necessities on its agenda and ensure the protection of these Iranian refugees in Iraq.

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.