The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) welcomes the British government’s robust condemnation of the recent rocket attack on Camp Liberty, home to members of the Iranian opposition in Iraq. We commend the government for raising this at the highest diplomatic levels in Iraq and wholeheartedly support its call for “an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the incident and ensuring that all those responsible are brought to justice.” The attack on 29 October 2015, in which 24 camp residents were killed, was the sixth deadly attack on these Iranian dissidents at the behest of Tehran since 2009, when Iran's Supreme Leader ordered, Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister at the time, to expel them to Iran.
Like previous attacks, this attack has drawn a wave of international condemnation with calls for an independent investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. Yet, six years after the first attack, no one has been held accountable. Instead, suspected perpetrators such as Senior Iraqi official Faleh Fayyad, with known ties to the Iranian regime, currently chair governmental committees in charge of the Camp Liberty dossier including its management and security.
In a parliamentary motion (EDM343 Iraq and Camp Liberty) last year, over 110 MPs said that a good indication of the new Iraqi government’s rejection of Iranian regime’s influence in Iraq is the way it treats the residents of Camp Liberty. On 8 September 2015, we warned of new efforts by Tehran to use its political influence and proxies in Iraq to attack Camp Liberty in an effort to eliminate its opposition. Today, both Amnesty International and the UNHCR have warned about the threat of similar deadly attacks on Camp Liberty in the near future.
However, the above-mentioned governmental committee, headed by Faleh Fayyad, continues to ignore international calls for additional security for the residents, instead imposing restrictions on them in the days following the attack. In breach of international law and the MoU signed with the UN in December 2011, necessary supplies to make the camp inhabitable have been denied.
On 11 November 2015, the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for Iraq will present his latest report on Iraq to the UN Security Council in New York. This provides an excellent opportunity for the UK, which holds the Presidency of the Council, and the U.S. to assist the Iraqi Prime Minister, Dr. Al-Abadi to secure a peaceful solution to this humanitarian crisis.
The Security Council should strongly condemn the rocket attack on Camp Liberty, recommend that the camp be recognised as a refugee camp under UN protection and ask for immediate referral of the camp's dossier and its management to the Office of Prime Minister, Dr. Al-Abadi. The council should also take appropriate action to end the ongoing restrictions, including giving the residents permission to construct buildings in Liberty, the return of T-walls, protective helmets and vests as well as medical equipment.
Last week, in a letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Mission to the UN in New York, supported by over 40 members of both Houses of Parliament, we called on the UK government to place these urgent requirements on the agenda for the upcoming UN Security Council meeting on Iraq and take appropriate steps to have them adopted.
While reiterating this call, we urge other council members, in particular the U.S. and France to support these requirements publicly and urge the council to adopt them at next week's meeting.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
9 November 2015