Prominent US figures demand travel to Iraq as impartial observers for transfer of first group of Ashraf residents
Prominent US figures welcome UNHCR statement on Camp Ashraf
Senior Former U.S. Officials Offer to Travel to Iraq for the Transfer of the First Group of Ashraf Residents as Impartial Observers, Welcome UNHCR Statement on Camp Ashraf
Press Release February 7, 2012
Statement by Ambassador John Bolton, Secretary Andrew Card, General James Conway, Ambassador Dell Dailey, Senator Alfonse D’ Amato, Governor Howard Dean, Professor Alan M. Dershowitz,
Judge Louis J. Freeh, Hon. Rudy Giuliani, Governor Jim Hodges, Ambassador Bob Joseph, Hon. Patrick Kennedy, Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, Jr., Col. Wesley Martin, Judge Michael B. Mukasey, Brig. General David Phillips, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, Governor Ed Rendell, Secretary Tom Ridge, Mr. John Sano, General Hugh Shelton, Senator Robert G. Torricelli, and General Charles F. Wald:
We are particularly encouraged by the statement issued on February 1st by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the situation of the 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
Contrary to earlier reports suggesting that the infrastructure and facilities at Camp Liberty are in accordance with the international humanitarian standards, UNHCR made it clear that Camp Liberty “is being provisioned to enable the residents voluntarily to move there and to stay on a temporary basis in safe and decent conditions.”
UNHCR’s statement noted that its role has only been one of “advising on the technicalities of improving the camp infrastructure.” The UN Refugee Agency also placed “utmost importance” to the need for the residents of Ashraf to have “freedom of movement” as “the most desirable state at the site of relocation.”
We are very troubled by the official position of the Iraqi Government that the residents of Ashraf will have no freedom of movement while in Camp Liberty. We are also very concerned about the lack of privacy for the residents, especially given that there are 1,000 women among the residents. We reiterate our consistent and repeated position that Camp Liberty cannot be turned into a prison.
To ensure that the minimum assurances for the safety, well-being, and privacy for the residents of Ashraf are provided, we believe an operational protocol must be developed through dialogue among all relevant parties, including the representatives of Camp Ashraf and the Iraqi Government.
In this light, we the undersigned, not only welcome the suggestion by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, to meet directly with Iraqi officials, but also state our readiness to travel to Iraq to act as impartial observers for the first phase of relocation of residents from Ashraf to Liberty.
As American citizens, we feel obligated to make such a trip for two reasons. First, the United States signed an agreement with every individual at Camp Ashraf to ensure their safety, protection, and well-being. As such, the United States has the ultimate responsibility in this respect. Second, in December 2008, the Iraqi Government gave written assurances to the United States Government that it would treat the residents of Camp Ashraf humanely and according to international law.
We believe that our presence for the transfer and relocation of the first group of the residents of Camp Ashraf is an essential step to begin to fulfill America’s commitment.