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Near East Human Rights Initiative (NEHRI) Strongly Condemns the Massacre in Camp Ashraf and Demands Urgent UN Probe

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Shooting directly at Ashraf residents by Nouri al-Maliki forces
Shooting directly at Ashraf residents by Nouri al-Maliki forces
SOURCE:  Near East Human Rights Initiative (NEHRI)
The Sacramento Bee, Overland Park, Kan., April 11, 2011 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
-- On Friday, April 8, Iraqi security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched a deadly and vicious attack on thousands of defenseless and unarmed Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. This unprovoked and inhumane assault led to a devastatingly large number of casualties, which thus far include 33 dead and more than 300 injured, 18 of them with life-threatening wounds. Sadly, there were also eight women who lost their lives.
During the deadly attack of April 8th, defenseless civilians were killed and ran over by armored vehicles. Unarmed refugees and especially women were targeted and shot deliberately. The water supply has been cut off and not restored yet. The food and medicine supplies were destroyed and taken away. Buildings and residences were looted and razed. Since the attack and as a result of inaction by the United States, emboldened Maliki forces, have looted the buildings and have destroyed the cemetery inside the camp, preventing the burial of the bodies. All these inhumane actions to obliterate Camp Ashraf and force its residents to flee, are clear examples of a humanitarian catastrophe, which will forever stain the history of our nation as well.
The massacre that took place on April 8 in Ashraf was a byproduct of our confused, severely mistaken and indecisive appeasement policy towards the mullahs in Iran, as well as by the unjustified hostility towards their main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), whose members in Ashraf were the subject of the brutal attack.
It is quite shameful and heartbreaking indeed to see the sincere efforts and blood of this great nation’s brave men and women in uniform, who aimed to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, leading instead to the rise of a brutal dictator who has more regard for the mullahs of Iran than international treaties, fundamental democratic values and human rights.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has now on two specific occasions (July 2009 and April 2011) deliberately violated the status of Camp Ashraf as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Mr. Maliki has gone as far as refusing medical treatment to cancer patients, cutting the camp’s water supply and brutally attacking and killing innocent civilians who have protected status under international law.
NEHRI strongly condemns the most recent massacre in Camp Ashraf and specifically asks the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to immediately convene and carry out a full investigation to hold accountable the parties and persons responsible for this humanitarian catastrophe.
In light of the recent attacks on Camp Ashraf by Mr. Maliki’s forces, and to prevent future massacres, it is quite evident that the security of the camp has to be transferred back to U.S. forces immediately. Furthermore, the Near East Human Rights Initiative urgently asks the U.S. bases in Iraq to accept and treat those wounded during the April 8 attack in Ashraf and to secure the immediate release of those Ashraf residents abducted by al-Maliki’s forces.
NEHRI urges the United Nations to conduct a full investigation on this deadly attack on civilians and the NEHRI also demands for the International Red Cross to be allowed access to the camp to treat the wounded immediately and to prevent further losses. 36 have lost their lives as a result of the attack.
NEHRI holds the U.S. government responsible for the safety of those injured or abducted in the attack. The U.S. administration should stay true to our great moral values and honor its signed bilateral agreement with Ashraf residents, which means that, in accordance with international law and its clear obligations, it must provide the safety and security it had promised to the protected persons in Ashraf City as soon as possible.

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