IRANIAN DISSIDENTS CURRENTLY RESIDE IN CAMP LIBERTY.
ARE WOMEN WHO HAVE COURAGEOUSLY DEFIED THE HEART OF THE IRANIAN REGIME’S IDEOLOGY OF MISOGYNY.
Who are the residents of Camp Liberty?
The 3,300 Iranian dissidents currently residing in Camp Liberty are part of the main democratic opposition and symbolize the Iranian people’s yearning for freedom. Over the past two years, dozens of them have been brutally massacred by assailing Iraqi forces at the behest of the Iranian regime and it is feared that another massacre at Camp Liberty may be in the works. The Iranian regime, facing deepening internal crises and broadening international isolation, is plotting to annihilate its opponents at Camp Liberty. Therefore, any further harm to these brave Iranians would dash hopes for a democratic and non-nuclear Iran that is free of the current tyranny. Theses Iranian exiles gradually fled the brutal regime of Iran, which has killed over 120,000 opponents thus far, and took refuge in Iraq since mid-1980s. About a third of the residents are former political prisoners who endured unspeakable torture while incarcerated in the Iranian regime’s prisons. Nearly 1,000 are women who have courageously defied the heart of the Iranian regime’s ideology: misogyny. And, many of the residents, educated in western institutions of higher education in Europe and America, joined the residents in their effort to free their homeland from the tyranny of a ruthless theocracy. The residents of Camp Liberty represent the last best hope for a free, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran that is at peace with its neighbors and can guarantee economic stability and progress for its people. They need our help more than ever.
How and why did the dissidents end up in Camp Liberty?
In the early 1980’s, the Iranian regime began systemic purging of opposition groups and pro-democracy movements. Tens of thousands were summarily executed, imprisoned, tortured, or otherwise forced into exile. A vast majority belonged to the principal democratic opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Those who escaped the wrath of the mullahs gradually went to Iraq. They were joined by thousands of other like-minded Iranian exiles from Europe and the United States to endeavor to free Iran. For over 25 years, these Iranian exiles lived in Camp Ashraf (and now in Camp Liberty), building an oasis, thought their own toil and resources, in the middle of the desert, with spectacular flower gardens, schools, libraries, pools, museums, universities, a mosque, and recreation centers.
After the ascent of an Iraqi government ready to enact the Iranian regime’s agenda, the defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf came under increasing harassment, psychological torture and even deadly attacks and since February 2012 were gradually relocated to a small and dilapidated site called, Camp Liberty. The residents are civilians and under the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In July 2009 and April 2011, thousands of Iraqi forces stormed Camp Ashraf and, according to the United Nations and other human rights institutions, including Amnesty International, murdered the residents. As a result of these deadly assaults, 49 residents, including eight women, were killed in what the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) described as a “massacre.” In order to prevent further violence, the residents of Ashraf agreed to relocate to Camp Liberty, a former U.S. base near Baghdad International Airport. In September 2011, the UN High Commission for Refugees declared the residents as “asylum-seekers” and “persons of concern,” who are entitled to international protections. Currently, UNHCR is working to grant them refugee status at Camp Liberty so that they can be resettled into safety in third countries willing to accept them.
What is the condition in Camp Liberty?
- Camp Liberty is a dilapidated series of pre-fabricated trailers that are not fit for habitat and need major renovation
- Liberty is not connected to Baghdad’s water network and residents had to pay millions of dollars to fetch drinking water before a water purification system was built by the residents at their own cost and at no cost to the Iraqi Government
- Liberty is not connected to Baghdad’s power network and the residents have to pay millions of dollars to pay for fuel to run the mostly worn-out generators
- The residents pay for everything, including basic food items, clothing, furniture, equipment, and a local labor force. Most of the items, including food, must be imported from Kuwait and other countries at exorbitant prices because Iraq does not allow the residents access to local markets.
What can you do?
- Help provide the necessary daily staples for the residents
- Help improve the living conditions of the residents
- Facilitate their resettlement in third countries and ensure their safety and well-being
- Help to establish a democratic, secular, peaceful, and non-nuclear Iran