210,000 Iraqis condemn government threat to forcefully transfer Ashraf residents to Liberty prison
Statement of the Iraqi Tribes and Dignitaries Parliament
August 8, 2012
Two hundred and ten thousand Iraqis signed a petition to the United Nations expressing their abhorrence regarding the inhumane pressures and continuous violations of Iraqi government’s obligations, and making Liberty into a prison for Ashraf residents. The signatories also called for any relocation to this prison to be halted until humanitarian conditions on the ground are changed. The Iraqi people, in one voice with Iraqi MPs and international organizations, view the threats raised by government officials for the residents’ involuntary relocation as an invidious measure of paving the roads for a new bloodbath and carnage in Ashraf. The petition adds the Iraqi government has been especially emboldened due to remarks made by the UN Special Representative in Iraq in expressing his gratitude for the repressive measures carried out by Maliki’s government.
While Ashraf residents enjoy the rights of residence and refugee status after living in Iraq for 25 years, and have been recognized as ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention, they have become homeless following their unjustifiable transfer to Liberty prison. What is very surprising for any freedom-loving human being is that while Camp Liberty residents are under dreadful humanitarian conditions, the Iraqi government and UNAMI are stressing on the transfer of the remaining Camp Ashraf residents to Liberty. This camp lacks minimum international standards and the residents have recently been described as ‘detainees or prisoners’ by the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The Iraqi people’s statement adds: “The articles of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Iraqi government and the SRSG on 25 December 2011 without Ashraf residents’ consent have been dishonored by the Iraqi government. Torture and inhumane pressures against 2,000 residents in Liberty prison, including depriving them of access to water under the scorching summer heat and especially during the holy month of Ramadhan, which are the demands of none other than the regime ruling Tehran, continue to this very day. This is while the Iraqi government and the SRSG have time and again expressed their commitment to provide adequate amounts of water and connecting this camp to Baghdad’s water network. Yet to this day these have been hollow promises and have not been seriously looked into by the Iraqi government.”
The signatories of this statement condemned these cruel measures and any other actions taken to make life even more difficult in Liberty. They called on the international community, especially the UN and the Secretary-General to intervene immediately and demand the following:
1. Any transfer of Ashraf residents to Liberty prison must be halted until the residents’ minimum requests, being the provision of water as the most important issue, are procured.
2. Liberty must be recognized as a refugee camp by the UN High Commission for Refugees in order to place the residents under international protection.
3. The UN must ensure the sale of all Ashraf residents’ moveable and immovable assets, or their transfer to another country.
Iraqi Tribes and Dignitaries Parliament