Hoglund hands letter to Ban Ki-Moon on Camp Ashraf

12 09 2009

Friday, 11 September 2009

Mr. Morten HaglundNorway’s Foreign Ministry and members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament have indicated that they are seriously monitoring the situation in Camp Ashraf. The Secretary General of the United Nations was asked to show initiative in this regard when he visited Oslo.

Source: The Norwegian daily Aftenposten, September 9, 2009
When Ban-Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, met with the Norwegian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, he received a letter from Morten Haglund (Progress Party) with regards to the situation in Camp Ashraf. Haglund received vocal support from other committee members.

He said, “I have been there twice and I know a lot of people there. Many of them have relatives in Norway. I gave the letter to Ban-Ki Moon on their behalf. There are extensive worries about the future and security of the residents.”

UN must show initiative

The politician from the Progressive Party says that there is an international “tug of war” going on with regards to this camp and he fears the occurrence of a “complete humanitarian catastrophe.” He believes that “There is a need for an impartial party such as the UN in Iraq to demonstrate initiative and interest.”

At the same time, Haglund is also in touch about the situation with the Foreign Ministry and believes that they have demonstrated concern and are following the developments. He thinks that Norway must consider bringing up the issue at the UN Human Rights Council.

Vidar Bjørnstad (Labor Party) was one of those who supported Haglund’s letter to Ban Ki-Moon. He is also of the view that Norway must assume a more active role with regards to Camp Ashraf.

Bjørnstad says, “I think Norwegian officials must work to bring the issue to the surface and raise awareness about the problems associated with potential forcible transfer. They have to investigate the attack against the camp and send a delegation from the UN or other impartial bodies to ensure that the residents are well protected.”

Bjørnstad and Haglund met last week with a visiting delegation from the NCRI led by Mohammad Mohaddessin.

A Norwegian citizen

According to the NCRI, a Norwegian citizen is also among the residents of Camp Ashraf. Norway’s Foreign Ministry says that it has been aware of this fact since the summer. Bjørn Svennungsen, a Communication Adviser at the ministry, says, “Our Embassy (in Jordan) has contacted him to find out if he needs help from the consulate. But there have been no requests so far.”

He added that the Foreign Ministry is closely watching the developments and is in contact with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) which recently visited Ashraf.

Svennungsen says, “We are also in touch with other allies, including Nordic countries, with regards to this situation, as well as with the International Committee of the Red Cross. We have also brought up the issue with Iraqi officials and have received explanations from them. We have requested to meet with the Iraqi mission to obtain more explanations about the matter.”


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