OpinionIran in the World PressCamp Ashraf refugees from Iran deserve asylum in U.S.

Camp Ashraf refugees from Iran deserve asylum in U.S.


 Albuquerque Journal: On Sept. 1st of this year, 52 residents of Camp Ashraf were murdered by Iraqi forces. Many of those who were murdered were in the midst of seeking medical attention and were handcuffed and shot in the head.


Albuquerque Journal

By Saeed Shams / Albuquerque resident 

On Sept. 1st of this year, 52 residents of Camp Ashraf were murdered by Iraqi forces. Many of those who were murdered were in the midst of seeking medical attention and were handcuffed and shot in the head.

Seven residents, refugees from Iran, were taken hostage by the Iraqis. Among these hostages were six women. The hostages remain in Iraq, according to reports from Amnesty International, being housed in the center of Baghdad at an unofficial detention center.

While the Iraqi government continues to deny responsibility for this attack and claims no knowledge of the whereabouts of the hostages, evidence clearly proves otherwise.

Hundreds of people are on hunger strike around the world due to the atrocious attacks on Camp Ashraf, also known as Camp New Iraq. At Camp Liberty, where many of the Ashraf residents were relocated – as well as in Washington, D.C., Berlin, Geneva, London, Melbourne, Ottawa, Rome and Stockholm – people are protesting the lack of action by the international community after the attacks on Camp Ashraf.

They have collectively stated that the hunger strikes will continue until the hostages have been released.

The United Nations Refugee Agency is calling upon the world to help in the relocation of the former residents of Camp Ashraf. The safety of the residents of Camp Liberty remains in imminent danger unless they are relocated out of Iraq.

The residents of Camp Liberty are all members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a group vehemently opposed to the fanatical regime of Tehran clerics. Because of the involvement of Iraqi government and the Iraqi military forces, the 3,000-plus residents of Camp Liberty are living with the daily threat of being murdered at the hands of government loyal to the regime in Tehran.

In a recent release, the United Nations Refugee Agency and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq called upon “the government of Iraq to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of the residents.”

Both agencies remain gravely concerned about the fate of seven missing individuals who disappeared on Sept. 1 and call on the authorities to locate them, ensure their wellbeing and safeguard them against any forcible return to Iran.

If the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is to prove that he is not a pawn of the Tehran regime, he must heed the call of the UN agencies to release the seven hostages and assure the safety of the Camp Liberty residents until they can be relocated to another country.

Amnesty International has also called upon Iraq to immediately release the seven hostages “unless they are charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offense.” They also brought up the fact that international law prohibits Iraq from forcibly returning “anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, including torture.”

The great fear is that these seven hostages will be handed over to Iran where they assuredly await countless hours of torture followed by an inhumane death.

Recently John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, called the situation “an embarrassment” for the United States and “a stain on the reputation of the U.S.” He publicly called upon Congress to grant political asylum to the refugees so they can get “out of the death trap they are in.”

The U.S. must honor their commitment to these refugees and provide an example for the rest of the world with the offer of asylum to residents of Camp Liberty.

By not doing so, they are essentially signing death notices of an untold number of these innocent refugees at the hands of the Iraqi forces.

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