{mosimage}BPCIF: Two Archbishops and 16 Bishops call on political leaders to raise their voice and condemn the displacement of the camp residents inside Iraq without international protection and urge the Iraqi government to revoke this deadline and allow the UN Refugee Agency to start its task in the camp. If we fail to do so, the blood of innocents will be on our collective hands.

{mosimage}BPCIF:Two Archbishops and 16 Bishops have added their name to an appeal to the United Nations and other world bodies to protect 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

The text of the Bishop’s appeal reads in part:

The Bible says, "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor."  It could have been describing Camp Ashraf today.  We cannot stand idly by the blood of the residents of that camp. Silence is complicity. Silence is facilitation. Silence is permission. And silence in some contexts can be a crime.

The UN Secretary General recently called on Iraq to postpone the unworkable deadline so that the UNHCR can carry out its work for re-establishing the refugee status of the dissidents at Camp Ashraf. Similarly the special representative of the Secretary General in Iraq is leading the efforts to find a durable and peaceful resolution to this matter. Appeals have also been made by Amnesty International and some other political leaders. But the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, is ignoring all of these appeals.

So, we call on those political leaders, who until now have been silent on this critical issue, to raise their voice and condemn the displacement of the camp residents inside Iraq without international protection and urge the Iraqi government to revoke this deadline and allow the UN Refugee Agency to start its task in the camp. If we fail to do so, the blood of innocents will be on our collective hands.  There is no time to wait.  The clock is ticking. 

The signatories of the statement include:

The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford
The Rt Revd Bishop Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wales
The Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, The Bishop Suffragan of Swindon
The Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Former Bishop of Oxford
The Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford
The Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney
The Rt Revd Alan Gregory Clayton Smith, Bishop of St. Albans
The Rt Revd Andrew Watson, Bishop of Aston
The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester
The Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Whitby
The Rt Revd Richard Frith, Bishop of Hull
The Rt Revd Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol
The Rt Revd Martin Wallace, Bishop of Selby
The Rt Revd Kenneth Herbert Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
The Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe
The Rt Revd John Stroyan, Bishop of Warwick

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
2 January 2012

Note to editors:
 
The United States and United Nations have a particular responsibility to uphold the rights of 3,400 Iranian dissidents currently residing in Camp Ashraf, as Iraq stumbles on its commitment to allow them safe passage to Camp Liberty in Baghdad. Without necessary international action, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom would strongly oppose the residents’ transfer to Camp Liberty.
 
We had only supported the UN deal to relocate the residents to the new camp based on the assurances provided by UN special envoy Mr. Martin Kobler in his 28 December open letter to Ashraf residents and the 25 December public statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Without international intervention, Iraq cannot be trusted to uphold the residents’ safety and rights.
 
Our committee finds the transfer of the residents to Camp Liberty unacceptable unless the minimum demands announced by Mrs. Rajavi are implemented. In particular, the residents’ representatives must be given 48-hour advance access to Camp Liberty for inspection of the site, and the residents must be permitted by Iraq to transfer their belongings and moveable property, especially their vehicles, to the new site, otherwise the transfer would be considered as forcible relocation. No Iraqi armed forces must be stationed inside the perimeter of the new camp, and Iraq must drop its bogus charges against all residents.