Reuters, July 17 2013:… U.N. envoy Martin Kobler, who will take up a similar position in the Democratic Republic of Congo next month, told the Security Council that the United Nations had received complaints about the Iranian group’s leadership at the camp. “Of increasing concern are the human rights abuses in Camp Hurriya itself by the camp leadership,” Kobler said. “Hundreds of daily …
Special Representative for Iraq Martin Kobler. Photo: UNAMI
(Reuters) – The outgoing U.N. special envoy to Iraq on Tuesday accused the leaders of an Iranian dissident group at a camp in Iraq of human rights abuses, an allegation the movement dismissed as baseless.
Members of the Iranian dissident group Mujahadin-e-Khalq living in Camp Hurriya near Baghdad have been transferred there from Camp Ashraf north of the Iraqi capital, where they had lived for nearly a decade until last year.
The group and its political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, have complained repeatedly about the conditions at Camp Hurriya, formerly known as Camp Liberty, and security problems.
U.N. envoy Martin Kobler, who will take up a similar position in the Democratic Republic of Congo next month, told the Security Council that the United Nations had received complaints about the Iranian group’s leadership at the camp.
“Of increasing concern are the human rights abuses in Camp Hurriya itself by the camp leadership,” Kobler said. “Hundreds of daily monitoring reports suggest that the lives of Camp Hurriya members are tightly controlled.”
“A significant number of residents have reported to U.N. monitors that they are not free to leave the camp, to participate in the resettlement process offered by UNHCR, to contact family members outside Iraq, or to have contact with other relatives even within the camp itself,” he said, referring to the U.N. refugee agency.
Some Hurriya residents reported being denied access to medical treatment by camp leaders, while others spoke of verbal and other forms of abuse for disagreeing with camp leaders or voicing the desire to leave, Kobler said.
The Mujahadin-e-Khalq, taken off the U.S. list of terrorist organizations last year, calls for the overthrow of Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim clerical leadership. It fought alongside the forces of Iraq’s late Sunni Muslim dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
The group is no longer welcome in Iraq under the Shi’ite Muslim-led government that came to power after U.S.-led forces invaded and toppled Saddam in 2003. Some exiles say they suspect that Baghdad might be ready to send them back to Iran.
There have been two rocket attacks on Camp Hurriya this year, one in February and another last month. Some 10 residents were killed and 71 wounded.
Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, denied the allegations of Kobler, whom the Iranian dissidents have long accused of lying and covering up facts about what they say are substandard conditions at Hurriya.
“These allegations are so baseless that the Iranian resistance has on 50 occasions called for an independent fact-finding mission to investigate all these claims and all other lies that Kobler has disseminated,” he said.
“But neither Kobler nor the government of Iraq has agreed to any independent investigation.”
The United Nations has defended Kobler and denied the allegations about a cover-up.
“We regret that MeK and its supporters continue to focus on public distortions of the U.N.’s efforts to promote a peaceful, humanitarian solution on Camp Ashraf and, in particular, its highly personalized attacks on the U.N. envoy for Iraq,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
There are around 100 Iranians remaining at Camp Ashraf who refuse to leave, Kobler said. He described the situation at Ashraf as tense.
Last week lawyers for the families at Camp Hurriya held a news conference in New York to present a petition to the United Nations calling for an immediate return to Camp Ashraf.
The Mujahadin-e-Khalq insists that the United States, whose forces initially helped them settle in Ashraf after the 2003 invasion, still bears responsibility for their safety.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
UN Envoy: Mujahedin-e Khalq Leaders Abusing Followers in Iraq (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
Jason Ditz, Anti War, July 17 2013
UN Envoy Martin Kobler has detailed growing complaints about human rights violations by leaders of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), an Iranian rebel faction, against its followers in Iraq’s Camp Hurriya.
The MeK was a long-standing member of the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, but after heavy lobbying the group was dropped from the list last year. The group was allied to Saddam Hussein and retains a significant presence at Hurriya, and formerly Camp Liberty during the US occupation.
Accord to Kobler, the UN receives “hundreds” of reports every day about violations by MeK leaders against people inside Camp Hurriya, restricting their movement, forbidding them from contacting family members, and keeping them from leaving to participate in a UN resettlement effort.
MeK spokesman Shahin Gobadi angrily rejected the allegations, insisting they are “baseless” and accusing the UN of covering up Koblers “lies” against their organization. MeK leaders insist the US remains responsible for their safety.
UN News Center, May 16 2013: … The top United Nations official in Iraq today called the relocation of 14 Iranians to Albania from an exile camp near Baghdad, an “encouraging first step.” “The residents’ arrival in Albania late last night is an encouraging first step in the relocation of the group of 210 residents the Albanian government has agreed to receive,” said the UN Special Representative …
UN News Centre, April 19 2013: … Camp Hurriya serves as a transit facility for more than 3,000 exiles, most of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran, where a process to determine their refugee status is being carried out by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). With the latest offer, […]
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D), April 16 2013: … The S&D Group fully supports the efforts of Martin Kobler and the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq towards full and permanent resettlement of the residents of Camp Liberty and believes that the decision by the Government of Albania to accept 210 residents is a welcome first
Office of Catherine Ashton, European Union, March 21, 2013: … The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission issued the following statement today: “I welcome the decision by the Government of Albania to resettle 210 former residents of Camp Ashraf, now temporarily located in Camp Hurriya. I have followed this issue very closely, lending my full support to the work of the United ations Assistance Mission for Iraq, and in particular th
UN News center, March 19 2013: … The statement added that Mr. Ban “unequivocally supports” the efforts of his Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, “to courageously and creatively, in exceptionally difficult circumstances, help resolve this situation.” In his report, Mr. Ban urges those who express support for the residents of Camp Hurriya and the remaining residents of another camp, New Iraq, to stop spreading insults and falsehoods about Mr. Kobler, who heads the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI
Ashish Kumar Sen, Washington Times, March 18 2013: … The U.S. wants the MeK leadership to “accept the government of Albania’s humanitarian offer immediately, and urges the residents of Camp [Liberty] to resume participation in resettlement interviews to ensure that individuals avail themselves of safe and secure relocation opportunities outside Iraq,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The dissidents are housed at Camp Liberty, a temporary location near Baghdad’s interna
(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)
US strongly supports Martin Kober’s efforts, asks Mojahedin Khalq terrorist leaders to cooperate with UN
2013/06/25 by Iran Interlink
US State Department, June 24 2013: … The United States strongly supports the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), and the tireless efforts of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Martin Kobler to relocate remaining camp residents outside […]
2013/06/22 by Iran Interlink
Massoud Khodabandeh, Middle East Strategy Consultants, June 22 2013: … And Rajavi is ready. Or is he? There is a lot happening behind the scenes that belies the group’s boasts and declarations. Behind the scenes at the lobbying office the disintegration of the MEK is gaining momentum and is likely to implode the group in […]