{mosimage}"This British government has a duty to end the restrictions on Ashraf and ensure a lift of the blockade" A majority of backbench MPs on 11 March 2010 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.

Transcript of speech by Lord Cotter:

{mosimage}I am here to show my support alongside colleagues from both Houses of Parliament for the cause of the people of Camp Ashraf. The Peers and MPs present today represent hundreds of others from the House of Lords and the House of Commons who although unable to be with us today have shown their deep concern for the cause of these residents through signing this critical statement in support of their rights.
The number of MPs and Peers who have signed up to this statement is quite incredible and this widespread cross-party support shows the justness of this cause and the struggle of the people of Iran.
The entire situation surrounding the status of the Camp Ashraf residents is absolutely outrageous. This is a group of Iranians forced to flee their homeland due to suppression and the threat of violence and death simply for demanding democracy. Now, having lived in Iraq for over 20 years this group of Iranians is facing threats of violence, expulsion and death. This is simply unacceptable.
Support for this cause is now widespread amongst Europe. There have been significant moves in the European Union, through a Vice-President of the European Parliament and there is great determination amongst us all that justice prevails and the people of Ashraf as well as the people of Iran are granted their basic rights under international law.
The solution is clear for the majority of British MPs and over 150 Peers. The fact that the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq is based in Ashraf simply as observer, with no real power or mandate to guarantee the safety of the residents is ridiculous. For the UN to be present in Iraq but have no real power to take any action and stand up for the rights of these defenceless Iranians is simply unforgivable.
The UN must take ultimate responsibility in securing the safety of the residents and ensuring that violence will not be used against these civilians again. Of course we all remember the brutal attack of last July which was captured on video and shown to our Foreign Office ministers.
Once again we demand that this British government take on board what is happening and press for the UN mandate to be a mandate with which they can actually intervene in guaranteeing the safety of the Camp Ashraf residents. This British government has a duty to end the restrictions on Ashraf and ensure a lift of the blockade.