Camp Liberty: 15,000 Dignitaries Call for Action
More than 15,000 dignitaries from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries have called for an end to the medical siege exerted on Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty, north of Baghdad.
Camp Liberty, a former desolate abandoned U.S. Army base located next to Baghdad International airport, houses about 2,700 Iranian dissidents, who were forced three years ago to give up their home in Camp Ashraf 60 miles north of Baghdad. The residents, members of the PMOI (the Iranian regime’s main opposition), are recognized as "protected persons" under the 4th Geneva Convention. Nonetheless, these residents have, for the past six years, been under bloody attacks and subject to an inhumane medical and logistical siege imposed by Iraqi forces loyal to the Iranian regime.
A press statement released by the “Coalition of Human Rights Activists in Iraq” calls on the UN and US to lift the medical siege on Camp Liberty. The document was signed by over 15,000 personalities, including 7,154 physicians, 1,015 lawyers, 1,205 university professors, 2,025 university students, 2,009 engineers, 1,469 teachers and 768 government employees.
The signatories have emphasized that the current residents of Camp Liberty have suffered more than six years from an inhuman siege in all aspects of their lives. Twnety-two of the residents were tormented to their deaths due to being denied medical treatment and free access to medical services. The statement attests that during Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure as Iraq’s prime minister, six deadly attacks were staged against Ashraf and Camp Liberty by Iraqi security forces, in which 116 residents were murdered and more than 1,300 others were left wounded.
Earlier in October 27, more than 2,000 Iraqi physicians and medical personnel signed a statement strongly condemning the inhumane medical siege imposed on the opposition PMOI stationed in Camp Liberty.
The statement signed by 15,636 personalities has beseeched the present government of Iraq for the official recognition of the overlooked rights of the camp residents. They have called for Camp Liberty to be considered as a refugee camp under the surveillance of the United Nations. They have also demanded that the dossier of Camp Liberty be assigned to authorities in the Iraqi government who are not associated with the Iranian regime.
The statement calls upon the UN and US for the removal of the inhuman medical siege, which continues to be imposed against the camp’s residents, and to give the residents the opportunity to enjoy access to Iraqi physicians and hospitals to resolve their medical needs.
Depriving people of medical attention is, of course, a crime against humanity. Lawmakers, academics, medical and other personnel from Iraq and around the world have called for an immediate removal of the siege that continues to be waged under the new Iraqi government.
Shahriar Kia is a press spokesman for residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq, members of Iran opposition group(PMOI, also known as MEK), which advocates for a democratic, secular, nuclear-free Iran with separation of church and state and gender equality. He graduated from North Texas University. His Twitter handle is @shahriarkia