Iranians in Ashraf refugee camp need protection

21 August 2009

Iranians in Ashraf refugee camp need protection

The SP and the centre-right CDA have joined together to express grave concern over the safety of Iranian exiles housed in the Ashraf refugee camp in Iraq. Iraqi security forces stormed the camp earlier this month in a show of excessive violence. The Iranian refugees have ‘protected person’ status under the Geneva Convention, but the Iraqi authorities are determined to close Camp Ashraf and send the inhabitants back to Iran.

Harry van BommelMembers of Parliament Harry van Bommel (SP) and Maarten Haverkamp (CDA) share the opinion that Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen, a party colleague of Haverkamp’s, should call on the United States and the Iraqi authorities to hold to their promise that the Iranians would be protected. At the same time they insist that the refugees must not be forcibly returned to Iran. “As members of the opposition group Mujahedeen-e Khalq, they would be in danger of their lives in Iran,” Van Bommel said.

At the beginning of the year the US transferred responsibility for Camp Ashraf to the Iraqi authorities. Established in 1986, the camp houses around 3,500 Iranians. The US continues to view the Mujahedeen-e Khalq as a terrorist organization, but the European Union removed the opposition movement from its own list of terrorist groups some time ago.

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