{mosimage}BPCIF: A majority of backbench MPs on Thursday called on the Government to take urgent measures at the United Nations for the world body to protect 3,400 Iranian opposition members based at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The cross-party MPs were backed in their call by more than 150 Peers. PRESS RELEASE

{mosimage}A majority of backbench MPs on Thursday called on the Government to take urgent measures at the United Nations for the world body to protect 3,400 Iranian opposition members based at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The cross-party MPs were backed in their call by more than 150 Peers.

The announcement was made at a press conference in the House of Commons, where MPs and Peers spoke in defence of the PMOI opposition group in Camp Ashraf. Speakers included: Rt. Hon. Lord Waddington, former Home Secretary; Joe Benton MP (Lab); Brian Binley MP (Con); Dr. Steve Ladyman MP (Lab); David Jones MP (Con); John Hemming MP (Lib Dem); David Amess MP (Con); David Drew MP (Lab); Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Rt. Hon. Lord Archer of Sandwell QC, former Solicitor General; Lord Cotter (Lib Dem); Baroness Turner of Camden, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords; Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords; Lord Clarke of Hampstead, former Chairman of the Labour Party; Lord Wedderburn QC (Lab), Lord Lea (Lab); and renowned lawyers David Vaughan CBE QC and Claire Miskin.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, in a video message to the meeting, congratulated Parliamentarians for signing the statement. “This is a strong expression of support for the Iranian people’s uprising for freedom which is inspired by the perseverance of Ashraf residents”, she said.

In their joint statement, the MPs and Peers said: "We are deeply concerned about the situation of 3,400 members of the Iranian opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The Iranian regime is attempting to obliterate the residents through the Iraqi Government".

"A Resolution adopted by the European Parliament on April 24, 2009, reiterates that the residents of Ashraf are Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It calls on the Iraqi Government to respect their rights and refrain from their expulsion or forcible displacement within Iraq and to put an end to the siege imposed on them.
 
"We express our solidarity with the residents of Ashraf and their families and support their demands and call on the UK government to immediately accomplish the following objectives in cooperation with the United Nations, European Union and the U.S. Government:
•    The U.S. forces to guarantee protection of Ashraf residents, prevent recurrence of attacks and violence against them and their forcible displacement;
•    The United Nations to assume protection of Ashraf resident;
•    The Iraqi Government to comply with the European Parliament resolution on Ashraf adopted on April 24, 2009, and to acknowledge the fundamental rights and protections enjoyed by Ashraf residents under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"This would help to restore and improve the credibility and dignity of Iraq as an independent and democratic state, which have regrettably been subjected to doubts", the MPs and Peers said.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
11 March 2010