In a press conference in Baghdad with presence of 400 Diyala province tribal sheikhs and dignitaries, the statement of 480,000 people of Diyala province urging for ending inhumane siege of Ashraf and assuming protection of Ashraf residents by UN was provided to the media.
In this press conference eight senior tribal sheikhs of Diyala, on behalf of 480,000 Diyala residents who had signed the statement, provided the statement to the reporters.
In their speeches, while calling Ashraf siege as the most flagrant indicator of the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and particularly in Diyala, the Diyala tribal sheikhs and personalities underscored necessity of intervention of the United Nations for removal of Ashraf siege and guarantee of Ashraf protection.
The text of statement of 480,000 Diyala residents is as follows:
480 thousand people of Diyala Province urged for ending inhumane siege of Ashraf, assuming protection of Ashraf residents by UN & asking for US assurance that no violence and forcible displacement is used against them, recognition of legal status of Ashraf residents by Government of Iraq based on European Parliament Resolution, Council of Europe Declaration, and statements by Parliament Majorities in 20 countries across the globe
Concurrent with departure of U.S. forces from Camp Ashraf and on the verge of formation of new Government of Iraq, in light of growing threats by the Iranian regime against members of the People’sMojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), 480 thousand people of Diyala province from various sectors, by signing 439 letters and 443 statements and sending them to international organizations, urged the United Nations to assume protection of Ashraf residents and asked for lifting the oppressive and inhumane siege of Ashraf that has been going on for one and a half years.
In those letters and statements, the United States President and the UN Secretary- General have been asked specifically to take immediate measures to prevent recurrence of military attack and human catastrophe of 28 and 29 July 2009 in Ashraf that left 11 killed, 130 maimed, 370 wounded, and more than 1,000 battered. Thirty six of defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, who were disarmed by the United States in 2003, were taken hostage. By signing an agreement with each and every resident of Ashraf, the U.S. forces committed themselves to protect them until their final disposition.
Among the signatories are General Sheikhs and other Sheikhs of Ezza, Jabour, Neda, Ubaidi, Dulaimi,BaniZayd, Kheshali, Korwi, BaniWais, Sadeh al-Somaidaii, Bayati, al-Dawri, Zuhairia, Mahdawi, Ezzi, Karkhi, Jenabi, Massoudi, Haamed, Luhaibi, Hadidi, Mashayekhi, Majmaii, Khazraji, and Na’imi tribes.
By reminding the U.S. House Resolution 704, especially at a time that the U.S. forces are being withdrawn from Iraq, the letters and statements of people of Diyala, which was signed within three months by 1071 tribal Sheikhs and Sheikhs’ councils, 41 different social and humanitarian organizations and syndicates, 2165 lawyers and jurists, 6872 physicians, engineers and university professors and staff, 48 members of City Councils and heads of governmental offices from Diyala province, emphasized U.S. government’s commitments and responsibilities to guarantee protection of Ashraf residents against assault, violence and forcible displacement that is a clear violation of international covenants.
In addition, in the letters and statements signed by individuals over 18, whose names, addresses are available and have been approved by Iraqi tribal Sheikhs, lawyers, jurists and local trustees, four hundred and eighty thousand people of Diyala asked the Government of Iraq:
“To acknowledge the legal status of Ashraf residents, having resided in this camp for 25 years, as protected refugees under Fourth Geneva Convention according to European Parliament’s April 24th 2009 Resolution, January 28th statement of Council of Europe and statements by parliament majorities in 20 countries, and to treat them according to International Law, International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. This will revive Iraq’s prestige and reputation as a democratic and independent government that is unfortunately questioned now.”
Further, Iraqi national leaders have repeatedly stressed on the rights and legal status of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran as "political refugees covered by Geneva Conventions and International Law". They have also mentioned that the government of Iraq should respect their humanitarian and acquired rights and should end the siege and blockade of their properties.
General Secretariat of Council of National Iraqi Tribes-Diyala