Cross-Party MPs and Peers as well as prominent jurists at a Parliamentary meeting in London on Tuesday called on the UK, EU and US to urgently propose a draft text to the UN Security Council approve the stationing of blue-helmet UN security forces at Camp Ashraf to prevent another major massacre when the US forces leave Iraq at the end of the year. The Parliamentarians and jurists demanded that Iraq cancel its end-of-year deadline to forcibly close Camp Ashraf, home to 3,400 members of Iran's main opposition group PMOI (MEK).
Speakers included: Lord Clarke of Hampstead (former Labour Party Chairman), Brian Binley MP (Conservative, executive member of the 1922 Committee), Mark Williams MP (Liberal Democrat), Roger Williams MP (Lib Dem), David Amess MP (Con), Joe Benton MP (Lab), Jim Fitzpatrick MP (former Minister of State for Farming and the Environment), Lord Carlile of Berriew QC (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2001-2011), Lord Judd (former Minister of State at the FCO), Rt. Hon. Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC (former Lord Advocate for Scotland), Baroness Turner of Camden (former Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords), Guy Goodwin-Gill (distinguished Professor from Oxford and expert in refugee matters in international affairs), David Vaughan QC, Malcolm Fowler (member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society), Lord King of West Bromwich (former Mayor of West Bromwich), Lord Cotter, Hossein Abedini of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and Masoud Zabeti (partner at the Mishcon de Raya law firm).
David Amess MP said: "The Arab Spring is feared most of all by Iran’s dictators who dread at the spread of this movement to Iran’s frontiers. Under such circumstances, the fundamentalist regime cannot tolerate a centre of resistance and the existence of thousands of like-minded progressive and secular intellectuals campaigning against it. Today Ashraf has turned into a beacon of hope and a bastion of freedom for the millions who demand freedom, human rights and democracy for Iran".
Mark Williams MP said: "Although we have in the past known the threats that exist against the unarmed residents of Camp Ashraf, we now have an illegal timeline set out by the Iraqi authorities which if not stopped will mean in just over two months 3,400 unarmed Iranians to whom we provided guarantees to protect and whom international law demands we protect will be slaughtered by Iraqi forces".
Baroness Turner of Camden said: "It is now 20 months that Ashraf residents are living in a state of an inhuman siege by the Iran’s Qods Force and Iraqi government. The unending psychological torture of the residents continues with 300 loudspeakers. At the same time, the terrorist Qods Force has built surveillance towers to block communications signals next to Ashraf as part of a plan to launch the next attack. The time has come for the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to act to station UN monitors in Ashraf and to cancel the suppressive deadline set by the Iraqi government".
Hossein Abedini said: "The announcement by President Obama that US forces will leave Iraq by end of the year has made the situation for Camp Ashraf residents more dangerous as disturbing information has been received that Iraq is planning to launch another attack on the camp. Iraqi officials insist on closing Ashraf by end of the year. In this respect, the Iraqi Foreign Minister has also written to UN Secretary General reiterating the intention to close Ashraf".
Lord Fraser said: "The camp residents have submitted individual applications for refugee status and the High Commissioner for Refugees has asked Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki to cancel the illegal deadline so that the UNHCR can complete the process of individual status determination. However, Iraq has refused to cancel the deadline and is also obstructing the work of the UNHCR in various ways. Two days after it was announced that the US forces will leave Iraq, Iran's Foreign Ministry announced with impudence that Iran and Iraq had approved a 7-point agreement for the expulsion of the PMOI from Ashraf and the camp's closure".
Guy Goodwin-Gill pointed out that the situation at Ashraf is one in which the UN must intervene to offer 'protection in emergency', adding that Iraq had shown it was unable to protect refugees in its territory. He urged the UK to help the UNHCR carry out its activities.
Brian Binley MP said: "Foreign Secretary Hague must now urgently support an urgent visit to Ashraf by the EU’s envoy Jean de Ruyt and the stationing of a permanent UN blue-helmet protection team at the camp prior to the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq at the end of the year. The Foreign Secretary should further be pressing Iraq to lift its unlawful siege of Ashraf and to cast aside its unlawful deadline of closing Ashraf forcibly at the end of the year. Finally, we need the UNHCR to urgently recognise all Ashraf residents at refugees under international law".
Malcolm Fowler said: "Given the recent 7-point agreement signed by Iran and Iraq to close Ashraf at year's end, there will be a genocide at Ashraf in 60 days unless urgent action is taken to stop this". Mr. Fowler added that the Law Society’s president had on behalf of the society’s 130,000 members declared his support for immediate UN protection for Ashraf residents.
Lord Carlile said: "What is happening in Ashraf is an outrage. A UN monitoring team must be stationed in the camp". He added that the West's policy of appeasement with Iran had failed.
The speakers warned that Iraq had only given two choices to the Ashraf residents, either to be relocated in within the country and then been massacred or remain in Ashraf and be slaughtered. They warned that unless immediate international action is taken, another tragedy in a much larger scale than the April massacre is looming.
Conference chairman Lord Clarke of Hampstead in summarising the position of the speakers said: "Given the current situation action must be urgently taken to prevent genocide which will occur in two months time. I urge Foreign Secretary William Hague and EU foreign policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton to take the following steps: Publically denounce the December deadline set by the Iraqi government and use all possible means to convince the government of Iraq to cancel the deadline. Also urge the US government to do so.
Take the initiative for Ashraf protection to the UN Security Council for adopting an urgent decision to provide the necessary protection for the residents of Ashraf by blue-helmet UN forces".
On Iran, Lord Clarke demanded that the UK Government now ends its appeasement of the regime and begins to support the main organised opposition. "The only organised opposition to the regime is led by a charismatic woman Maryam Rajavi whose movement for democratic change in Iran should be supported", he said.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
25 October 2011
This statement has been supported by:
Lord Corbett of Castle Vale
Rt. Hon. Baroness Boothroyd (Speaker of the House of Commons 1992-2000)
Rt. Hon. Lord Waddington QC (former UK Home Secretary)
Rt. Hon. Lord Triesman (former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the FCO)
Lord Clarke of Hampstead
Baroness Turner of Camden
Lord King of West Bromwich
Lord Carlile of Berriew QC
Rt. Hon. Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC
Rt. Hon. Lord Archer of Sandwell QC
Rt. Hon. Lord Dholakia PC OBE DL
Baroness Gould of Potternewton
Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen OBE
Baroness Harris of Richmond
Rt. Rev. Lord Harries of Pentregarth FKC DD FRSL
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass
Lord Wedderburn of Charlton QC
Rt. Hon. Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde
Lord Alton of Liverpool
Rt. Hon. Lord Eden of Winton PC
Baroness Masham of Ilton DL
Lord Roberts of Llandudno
Lord Inglewood DL
Lord Joffe CBE
David Amess MP
Brian Binley MP
Joe Benton MP
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Mark Williams MP
Roger Williams MP
Mr. Austin Mitchell MP
Mr. Martin Caton MP
Mr. Jim Dobbin MP
Mr. Roger Gale MP
Mr. John Leech MP
Mr. Bob Russell MP
Mr. Mike Hancock CBE MP
Sir Geoffrey Bindman
David Vaughan QC