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Internal UN document: Camp Liberty does not meet UN standards

Thursday, 03 January 2013 14:18

Source: Agence France Presse , French language service (translated to English)
PARIS, Jan.2,2013 (AFP) - The Iranian opposition in exile on Wednesday presented a document attributed to the UN showing that refugee camp Liberty, near Baghdad, is not consistent with humanitarian standards, despite statements by representative of the organization in Iraq, Martin Kobler .
Nearly a year after the transfer of 3,400 Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf (north of Baghdad) to Camp Liberty, the National Council of Resistance of Iran denounced the situation in Camp Liberty as "critical" claiming that recent floods have made the camp "uninhabitable" .
According to a presented document attributed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which AFP has obtained a copy, on January 19, 2012 UNHCR refused to certify that Camp Liberty is conforming to humanitarian norms, particularly regarding supply water and electricity, and sewage systems .
Yet, on January 30, 2012, UNHCR considered that Liberty was able to accommodate residents. And the Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Martin Kobler, in a statement on January 31, 2012 stated that "the structures and facilities of Camp Liberty comply with international humanitarian standards" .
In Paris Afshin Alavi, spokesman for the NCRI said: "This document reveals that Martin Kobler has consciously and deliberately in order to deceive the residents, issued a report fabricated on behalf of the UN and UNHCR. It is a blatant betrayal of human rights, the sacred principle of asylum and values on which the United Nations was founded" .
The NCRI request accordingly "an urgent and impartial investigation" on the actions of Mr. Kobler and ensuring the safety of residents of Camp Liberty .
Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former Algerian adviser to Martin Kobler, resigned from his reposiblities in May 2012. Among issues he judged that Camp Liberty was a "high security prison" in a military area and in a very dilapidated state .
People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) is the main component of the NCRI. Founded in 1965 with the objective of overthrowing the Shah's regime and later the Islamic regime, it members were expelled from Iran in 1980 and they settled in Ashraf, Iraq .
Almost all of 3400 Ashraf residents agreed to be transferred to Camp Liberty, near Baghdad. There are approximately 200 people remaining in Ashraf .
133 Members of Iraqi parliament call on UN to recognize Camp Liberty as refugee camp
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 16:07
NCRI- In a letter to UN Secretary General, a number of Iraqi parliament deputies asked for Liberty to be declared a refugee camp under supervision of the High Commission of Refugees and for guaranteed rights of residents to sell their properties at Camp Ashraf, Arabic language service of Agence France Presse reported on Monday from Baghdad .
"The deputies asked in a letter to declare Camp Liberty as a refugee camp under the supervision of the United Nations and not a temporary camp as it was agreed,” the report added .
"Upon Iraq’s request, 3,000 members of the the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) were relocated from the historic Camp Ashraf that was founded in the 1980’s to a camp closer to Baghdad, known as camp Al-Hurriya or Liberty" .
"The Iranian dissidents complain about the atmosphere in the new camp that they say is like a “police-state”. The relocation was done based on an agreement between Baghdad and the United Nations with the goal of transferring them to third countries,” the report said .

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