NGOs support Camp Ashraf residents' rights

NGOs support Camp Ashraf residents' rights
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Published September 28th, 2010 - 14:48 GMT

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According to the news received from UN headquarters in Geneva, Parallel to the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, International lawyers and NGOs call for cessation of executions, demand punishment of perpetrators of massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran and protection of Ashraf by UN and US.

Upon the invitation of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the Fondation France-Libertés (Danielle Mitterrand), Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), eminent jurists and lawyers and defenders of human rights in various countries, held a conference at UN headquarters in Geneva on September 24.

Chaired by Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Algerian Prime Minister, the participants in the conference requested the urgent intervention of the Secretary General of the UN Security Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to halt executions political prisoners in Iran on charges of Mohareb or enemy of God and the intolerable pressure on the residents of Camp Ashraf, a member of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). They also called for the establishment of an international tribunal by the Security Council to try the masterminds and perpetrators of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988.

During the conference the following personalities presented reports on their investigations and legal opinion:

-          Dr. Juan Garcés, lawyer for the families who filed a complaint against General Pinochet, and former adviser to Chilean President Salvador Allende (Spain);

-          Professor Eric David, professor of international law and international humanitarian law expert, former president of the Center of International Law at the Free University of Brussels (Belgium);

-          Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria (Algeria);

-          Abolghassem Rezai, deputy secretary of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), representing families of victims of the Iranian regime;

-          Ayatollah Jalal Ganje'i, Chairman of the NCRI’s Committee on Freedom of Religions and Denominations;

-          Mr. Parviz Khazi, NCRI representative in Nordic countries;

-          Mr. Tony Kelam, Estonian MEP, Member of the European Parliament delegation that visited Ashraf;

-          Jean-Charles Rielle, Member of Swiss Federal Parliament;

-          A delegation of Ashraf residents’ families whose relatives inside Iran have been arrested by the regime and sentenced to death.

During the conference, participants noted that with the rise of repression, arrests and torture in Iran, many of the victims condemned to death are members and supporters of PMOI and relatives of the residents of Ashraf. Hundreds of members of families of PMOI members residing in Ashraf have been arrested in recent months and 11 of them have been sentenced to death as Mohareb or enemy of God, had previously visited their relatives in Ashraf.
On the other hand, in recent months, with the departure of U.S. forces from Ashraf that led to the departure of the UN observer team from the camp, the pressures and suppressive measures by Iraqi forces against 3,400 Ashraf residents, at the request of the clerical regime, have also increased. Moreover, the political crisis in Iraq and delay in formation of a new lawful government have created a dangerous situation which benefits the regime in Tehran.

The speakers stressed that the residents of Ashraf, being "Protected Persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention, should receive the protection of UN and U.S. forces. For the past 20 months they have been subjected to a blockade by the Iraqi armed forces. In July 2009, during the attack of these forces on Ashraf, 11 residents were killed and 500 wounded.

In the past eight months, the Iranian regime has been sending groups of its agents to the entrance of Camp Ashraf, where they have installed 40 powerful loudspeakers that broadcast round the clock threats and vile propaganda, torturing the residents psychologically. These actions violate the basic rights of the camp residents.

Therefore, the conference called on:

-          The Secretary General of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Navi Pillay, to intervene directly and immediately to save lives of those sentenced to death for "Moharebeh" (waging war against God);

-          The Security Council of the United Nations to establish a special tribunal to prosecute the masterminds and perpetrators of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners for crimes against humanity and genocide;

-          The UN to deploy UNAMI monitoring team in Ashraf, and the U.S. forces to ensure protection of the UNAMI team and Ashraf residents. It is the moral and legal responsibility of the United States to prevent any violence against Ashraf residents and their forcible displacement inside Iraq.

-          The United Nations and the United States should reiterate the status of Ashraf residents as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and take immediate measures to end the blockade on Ashraf and psychological torture of its residents;

-          The Iraqi government must recognize the status of Ashraf residents as "Protected Persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention and respect their rights within this context.

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