Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Camp Ashraf crisis - Iran / Iraq border

On July 28-30, Iraqi armed forces attacked Camp Ashraf which houses 3,500 Iranian refugees.
They used live ammunition, truncheons, axes, sickles, tear gas, hot water cannons, and bulldozers to attack the defenceless residents of Ashraf as US forces stood back and filmed the carnage.
Eleven residents were killed, 500 were wounded, and 36 were arrested and tortured. Amnesty International says it has seen footage of residents being deliberately run over by military ‘Humvees’ driven by Iraqi forces.

The attack was ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the behest of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Link to video clips of the attack:
Ashraf Raid by Iraqi Forces - Part 1 - 10 Minutes

Ashraf Raid by Iraqi Forces - Part 2 - 5 Minutes

Iran’s Foreign Minister on 17 August demanded Iraq extradites Ashraf residents to Iran.
The Iraqi ambassador to Iran on 19 August said Iraq is ready to receive Iran's complaints to be used to "prosecute" Ashraf residents who have been detained.
The court in al-Khalis on 24 August ordered the release of the 36 residents in detention. However Iraq’s Prime Minister issued a directive preventing the release.

The Iraqis are taking up positions for a new attack on Ashraf, leading to a far greater massacre.
Iraqi forces are preventing the camp residents’ relatives, lawyers, doctors and journalists from entering. They have also prevented fuel trucks from delivering their load to the camp.
All camp residents were recognised in 2004 as "protected persons" under the 4th Geneva Convention by the US-led force, and this status was confirmed in writing 3 times in later years by the top Coalition commanders. This status would cease to apply one year after the end of the war which officially ended on 31 December 2008.
The US disarmed Ashraf residents and signed an agreement with each of them to guarantee their protection. It handed over protection of Ashraf to the Iraqi government at the start of 2009.
Article 45 of the 4th Geneva Convention says, “if a government fails to carry out the provisions of the Convention in any important respect, the government by which the protected persons were transferred (in this case the US) shall, upon being so notified by the protecting government, take effective measures to correct the situation or shall request the return of the protected persons. Such request must be complied with.” After the massacre in Ashraf, the US has a duty to request that Iraq hand back protection of the camp.
UN Security Council resolution 1883, adopted in August 2009, gives the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) a mandate and responsibility for the case of Ashraf.

A large number of Ashraf residents have been on hunger strike for the past 47 days. Hundreds of Iranians on both sides of the Atlantic are also on the 7th week of a hunger strike.

They demand:
1.    Iraqi police withdraw from Ashraf and release the 36 people taken hostage.
2.    US forces temporarily assume protection of Ashraf under Article 45 of the 4th GC until an international force can take over.
3.    UNAMI and OHCHR immediately station an international monitoring team inside the camp to prevent further attacks until a UN force takes over protection of Ashraf.
4.    UN bodies reiterate clearly that the “principle of non-refoulement” forbids forced displacement of Ashraf residents within Iraq.

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