ISJ Calls on EU's High Representative to Visit Camp Liberty and Recognize it as a Refugee Camp
BRUSSELS, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) draws the attention of the European Union's High Representative at the outset of her upcoming visit to Baghdad in order to chair the 5+1 countries negotiations.
While since last December the issue of Camp Liberty has been actively under considerations and Ashraf residents, at the recommendation of the camp's representatives and leaders, by showing goodwill and foregoing many of their rights have been transferred to Liberty, and while more than three months have passed since the first group of residents were stationed and so far more than 2,000 have been relocated, Camp Liberty continues to lack minimum humanitarian and human rights standards.
Infrastructure conditions, especially those of water, electricity, and sewage are quite excruciating, and the Iraqi government through a suppressive policy carried out at the behest of the Iranian regime, prevents rebuilding this infrastructure by the residents at their own expense. The residents do not even have the permission to establish awnings to shelter against the sun in the 45 degree heat, neither do they have permission to build concrete or asphalt pathways for the patients and paralyzed residents. Permission for transferring trailers and vehicles specially equipped for the ill and paralyzed patients are not being issued. While there have been vipers, scorpions, and pests found at the camp, the Iraqi government does not allow the residents to professionally exterminate the camp. The right of free passage, stressed by the High Commission of Refugees in several statements, is still not recognized. In this small one-half-kilometre camp, the Iraqi police and armored vehicles keep roaming. The memorandum of understanding between the UN and the Iraqi government and other agreements are constantly violated.
Meanwhile, relocation to third countries has not yet started and all indications point out that the residents will stay at Liberty for at least two years; therefore, designating Liberty as a temporary transit location is irrelevant. This designation only allows the Iraqi government to trample upon the residents' rights in the harshest manner.
In the interim, what is quite regrettable is the inactive policy of the European Union regarding this very sensitive human issue. This is not acceptable to us neither in the European Parliament, ASP 11E205, 60 rue Wiertz, B-1047, Brussels, Belgium 2 European Parliament nor in the national parliaments, and we ask the European leaders, especially Baroness Ashton, the High Representative, not to remain silent regarding this gross violation of human and basic rights. Therefore, on behalf of my colleagues in the European Parliament and national parliaments, I wish for Ms. Ashton's success in her trip to Baghdad for making the Iranian regime respect international laws and UN's resolutions vis-à-vis Camp Liberty and ask her:
First: to personally visit Liberty, that is located right near Baghdad airport, even if it is only for an hour. This would be a clear indication of the attention that the EU and the person of Ms. Ashton pay to the issue of the Iranian refugees in Iraq. Undoubtedly, one of the Iranian regime's goals in determining Baghdad as the venue of negotiations with the group of 5+1 countries is to exert further pressure on Iraq for additional suppression of the Ashraf and Liberty residents, and the presence of Ms. Ashton in this plan is, in any case, to the advantage of the Iranian regime and against its opposition. Visiting Liberty by Ms. Ashton will prevent this exploitation by Tehran and will make it more difficult for the Iranian regime and the Iraqi government to suppress the residents.
Second: to ask the United Nations' Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Refugees to officially declare Liberty a refugee camp under the auspices of the UNHCR, in order to recognize the residents' minimum rights.
Third: to appoint an EU representative for resolution of Ashraf and Liberty issues and to replace Ambassador Jean Du Ruyt.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras MEP
President, International Committee In Search of Justice (ISJ) International Committee of In Search of Justice (ISJ) enjoys the support of over 4,000 parliamentarians throughout the world
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