In a move, which according to Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, "could lead to bloodshed," the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, announced plans for the "transfer of Camp Ashraf residents to Nuqrat al-Salman" south of Iraq as a "step towards expelling them (from Iraq)."
The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) strongly condemns this unlawful decision which blatantly violates international humanitarian law and runs counter to the Iraqi Government's written assurances to the United States about upholding the human rights of Ashraf residents.
USCCAR calls on President Obama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize earlier today in Oslo, to fulfill the administration's responsibilities in the framework of official agreements it has signed with the people of Ashraf and Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Committee urges the President to undertake immediate steps to avert another humanitarian catastrophe.
In a Congressional hearing on October 28, Ambassador Feltman warned, "We're concerned about Iraqi desire to move Camp Ashraf to someplace else inside Iraq... they would try to forcibly move them to a different location in Iraq, and that could lead to bloodshed."
Noting that Ashraf residents are recognized as "Protected Persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention, a Spanish court last month said it has the authority to and will probe the Iraqi forces' deadly July attack against Ashraf residents. Camp Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of Iran's main opposition People's Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) and their families.
Agence France Presse quoted the Iraqi Prime Minister as saying that his government will move the Ashraf residents to Nuqrat al-Salman, 220 miles south of Baghdad in the desert, where Iraq's former regime used to send its opponents. Reuters news agency reported yesterday that Mr. al-Maliki intends to "uproot" the PMOI in order to nurture its relationship with Tehran.
There is hardly any doubt that the Tehran regime, fighting for survival in the face of nationwide uprisings in Iran, has pressured the Iraqi Government to create another bloodshed in Ashraf and rid Tehran of its main and most organized democratic opposition.
USCCAR also urges the United Nations Secretary General High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative for Iraq to intervene and thwart the forcible displacement of Ashraf residents.