Barnet Iranians’ new protest to prevent ‘catastrophic deaths’ in Camp Ashraf

14 12 2009

FAMILIES of the Iranian opposition community inside Iraq are protesting outside 10 Downing Street today in a fresh plea to Government.

The Anglo-Iranians are urging politicians to intervene to stop what they fear will become a massacre of 3,500 residents of Camp Ashraf, 60km to the north east of Baghdad.

The inhabitants, all members of the People’s Mojaheddin Organization of Iran (PMOI) fled to Iraq in the 1980s to escape the Iranian regime and given asylum and allowed to live autonomously by former dictator Saddam Hussein after switching sides in the Iran/Iraq war.

However Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamel al-Maliki has said he intends to move the camp’s residents by Tuesday.

Spokesman for the relatives, Saeed Abed of Watford Way, Hendon, said: “The role of the British Government is important in preventing the catastrophic deaths that could happen.

“The Government here is not taking any notice, there should be a strong message that this is not acceptable.

“People in Barnet are extremely worried about their relatives. It’s no good when the water’s already spilt.”

On Thursday a cross-party group of MPs and Peers warned of a massacre and even genocide if the British Government and others did not intervene to prevent the forced move.

Baroness Betty Boothroyd said the Iraqi government had prevented fuel, medicine and doctors from entering the camp, saying these actions amounted to grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

“The Iraqi government is now seeking to forcibly displace the residents of Camp Ashraf within Iraq in order to slaughter them.

“This would amount to a crime against humanity.”

Barnet residents joined a hunger strike outside Parliament earlier this year in support of 36 hostages taken from the camp during a raid in July, who were also refusing food.

During two days 11 people were killed and around 500 injured.

Speaking of the raid, which took place after June’s disputed election of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Baroness Betty Boothroyd said: “It is no coincidence that at the same time as seeking to use deadly force to silence its opponents inside the country, the Iranian regime pressured the Iraqi Government to carry out a deadly attack on Camp Ashraf.

“The regime’s aim was to crush the uprising in Iran while attempting to put out the flames of resistance held high by the residents of Camp Ashraf.”

Yesterday Amnesty International also said the inhabitants should not be harmed.

“Whatever measures the Iraqi authorities decide to take with regard to the future of Camp Ashraf, the rights of all its residents must be protected and guaranteed at all times,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Amnesty International.


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