Panel Urges President Obama to Resolve the Humanitarian Crisis in Camp Ashraf

5 09 2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On the 38th day of a hunger strike outside the White House in protest against the continuing siege of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, speakers at a news conference called on President Obama to intervene and end the humanitarian crisis in Ashraf, home to 3,400 members of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and their families.    Steven Schneebaum, U.S. Counsel for the families of Camp Ashraf residents, said, “The position of the United States that it no longer has any obligation towards the residents of Ashraf is plainly wrong. The US is still responsible based on the agreement it signed with each and every member in 2004, according to Article 45 of the 4th Geneva Convention and International Customary Law.”  Colonel Gary Morsch, Reservist, Commander, Combat Support Hospital in the US army, who severed in Ashraf in 2004, remarked that, “I am speaking as a soldier and cannot comprehend why our military did nothing to stop the carnage at Ashraf.”  “There are hundreds of people across the world on hunger strike.

If we can get our government to act quickly, and get the 36 hostages released, we can bring the hunger strike to an end,” Colonel Morsch added.  Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (Ret.), said, “President Bush made a mistake by transferring the protection of Ashraf to Iraqi forces. President Obama is making a bigger mistake by standing by and simply watching.” He added, “We need to call on the Iraqi government to release the 36 who have been taken hostage.”  Bruce McColm, former Executive Director of Freedom House, alarmed that, “We can see that the people around the world are on a hunger strike.  There has to be a resolution to the situation in Camp Ashraf so that this humanitarian crisis comes to an end.”  Dr. Firouz Daneshgari, head of the Urology Department at Case Western University, said that the hunger strikers are in a critical stage. “By the time the President discusses his healthcare plan next Wednesday, we will have a medical disaster outside the White House.”

Hamid Gourdarzi, a senior research scientist from San Antonio, Texas, speaking on behalf of the hunger strikers, said, “President Obama needs to send a representative to hear our demands. We are asking for the release of 36 hostages and the setting up of a UN monitoring post in Ashraf.”  Behzad Saffari, the legal advisor for Camp Ashraf and Javad Ahmadi, a senior Surgeon at Ashraf spoke via an audio link. Dr. Ahmadi said there were 200 injured residents in serious condition and the 36 abductees were also in critical condition, some losing their vision and suffering from serious infection.  Saffari said the situation in Ashraf was very tense with 1,500 Iraqi police and army forces in the Camp, hindering the entry of food and medicine as well doctors. He said it was essential that the U.S. intervenes to help avert another humanitarian crisis.   SOURCE  U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents  U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents, Majid Roshan, +1-202-640-1947


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