“Our commitment is strictly humanitarian: to facilitate a voluntary temporary relocation of residents to Camp Hurriya as a first step of resettlement to countries outside Iraq,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Mr. Martin Kobler.
Camp Ashraf – made up of several thousand Iranian exiles, many of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran – has been one of the main issues dealt with by UNAMI for more than 18 months.
In line with a memorandum of understanding signed in December by the UN and the Iraqi Government to resolve the situation, some two-thirds of the residents, or 2,000 people, were re-located to a temporary transit location near Baghdad known as Camp Hurriya – formerly known as Camp Liberty – where a process to determine refugee status is being carried out by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).Read More Download
When the Government announced late last-year that it would be closing the camp by 31 December, many feared a repeat of the violence of April 2011, when dozens of Ashraf residents were killed in clashes with Iraqi security forces at the camp. An earlier incident in 2009 cost the lives of at least 10 residents.Read More Download
Almost six months have passed since the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between UNAMI and the Government of Iraq to peacefully relocate the residents of Camp New Iraq to Camp Hurriya. So far almost 2,000 residents have been relocated to Camp Hurriya in a peaceful and orderly way, with only 1,200 remaining.
“On this occasion, I would like to thank both the Government of Iraq and the residents for their cooperation,” SRSG Kobler said. “It is important to complete the relocation in the coming weeks. I count on the constructive spirit of all sides.”Read More Download
The United Nations top envoy in Iraq today voiced his concern about the delay in the relocation of the residents of Camp New Iraq – formerly known as Camp Ashraf – to a new location, Camp Hurriya, prior to resettlement in third countries.
“I urge the remaining residents of Camp Ashraf to relocate to Camp Hurriya without delay,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Martin Kobler, said. “The relocation process should not be stalled. I am concerned that there will be violence if the relocation doesn’t recommence. Any violence would be unacceptable.”Read More Download
Baghdad — The United Nations welcomes the safe relocation today of around 400 from Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) to Camp Hurriya, the new temporary transit location for the residents.
“I commend the residents for their decision to move to Camp Hurriya. This is the first step towards a better future outside Iraq. I look forward to their continued cooperation with the Iraqi authorities to complete the relocation without delay,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Martin Kobler, who was present when the residents arrived at Camp Hurriya.
“I also commend the Iraqi authorities for having ensured a safe and secure relocation of the first group of residents. I urge them to pursue the relocation of the remaining residents in a manner that continues to guarantee the human rights, safety and welfare of all residents,” SRSG Kobler added.
Today’s voluntary relocation is in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 25 December 2011 between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq. Under this agreement, the U.N. refugee agency, the UNHCR, will start immediately upon the arrival of the first residents in Camp Hurriya the verification and refugee status determinations. This is an essential step to prepare the submissions of eligible candidates for resettlement to third countries.
Also according to the MoU, the U.N. will monitor the entire relocation process from Camp New Iraq to Camp Hurriya and provide round-the-clock human rights monitoring at Camp Hurriya.
“The U.N. will continue to uphold its commitment to facilitate, in an impartial manner, a peaceful and durable solution to this humanitarian situation,” said SRSG Kobler.
“Now that a first group of residents has moved to Camp Hurriya and UNHCR is ready to start its work, it’s time for the international community to confirm its readiness to accept eligible candidates,” he added.Read More Download
Baghdad– Further steps have been achieved in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the United Nations and the Government of Iraq on 25 December 2011 on a peaceful and humanitarian solution to the situation of the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf).
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UNAMI Human Rights Office have now confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at Camp Liberty are in accordance with the international humanitarian standards stipulated in the MoU. “I am grateful to the UNHCR and the Human Rights team for their expertise. This brings us a step further in ensuring that proper conditions are in place for voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents”, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Martin Kobler said.
Additionally, UN monitors are ready to start round-the-clock human rights monitoring during the transport of residents from camp New Iraq as well as upon their arrival at camp Liberty. UNHCR is also ready to commence the refugee status determination as soon as residents start arriving to the camp.
It is now time for the Government of Iraq to organize the modalities of the transport from Camp New Iraq to Camp Liberty and other relevant issues with the residents. In this regard, SRSG Kobler requested the Iraqi authorities that their focal point engages with the residents. For this purpose, the UN stands ready to facilitate their efforts if requested.
“It is important that the MoU is implemented in letter and spirit. The MoU stands only for a peaceful solution and a voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents”, SRSG Kobler said. “The United Nations’ consistent position is that a violent outcome is unacceptable. The MoU paves the way for UNHCR to conduct the verification and Refugee Status Determination (RSD) processes, which is a necessary first step to resettle the residents in other countries and enjoy their freedom and liberty.” SRSG Kobler added.
The RSD process to be carried out by the UNHCR is key to finding permanent host countries for residents. “Member States have a crucial role in helping to resolve the situation of Camp New Iraq residents and I do urge them again to accept residents in their countries. This is a critical contribution to the humanitarian solution we are all seeking.”Read More Download
Special Representative Warns against Underestimating Task Ahead, Especially On Security Front; Seeks Extended Deadline for Resettling Camp Ashraf’s Residents
Noting that Iraq had requested United Nations assistance in facilitating a peaceful and durable solution to the situation of Camp Ashraf, he said the Organization was working exhaustively to do so. However, the positions of the Government and the camp’s residents and leadership remained far apart. The 31 December deadline set by the Government to relocate the camp’s residents to another location until third-party resettlement countries were identified was fast approaching. The residents, who hoped to remain in the camp until the third-party countries were found, did not agree to be transferred to a location “without the protection of blue helmets”.
“There is real danger of confrontation and even violence unless a mutually acceptable solution is achieved,” he said, noting at the same time that the Government had agreed to give UNHCR its mandated role. It had also given assurances of its commitment to the principle of non-refoulement. He called on all concerned to act with restraint and flexibility to ensure that a peaceful solution was found.
To that end, he said UNAMI and UNHCR had formed a working group on Camp Ashraf that had frequently met with the Iraqi Government in recent weeks. UNAMI also continued to visit the camp on a regular basis, and the Secretary-General had spoken to Prime Minister Maliki on the matter. For its part, the United Nations was emphasizing that lives must be protected and that any forced action that resulted in bloodshed or loss of life would be ill-advised and unacceptable. Any workable solution must be mutually acceptable and respect Iraqi sovereignty and relevant international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. It must also respect the principle of non-refoulement.Read More Download
Baghdad–The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is concerned over reports of recent violent incidents in Ashraf camp resulting in deaths and injuries. UNAMI reiterates that efforts are needed to stop violence and aim at peacefully resolving all issues.
UNAMI calls for restraint and respect for humanitarian and human rights and urges the Iraqi authorities to provide humanitarian assistance in this regard and access to medical services.
UNAMI’s mandate includes the promotion of human rights in Iraq, and the Mission’s Human Rights Office regularly assesses the situation in and around the camp. The UN continues to advocate that Camp Ashraf residents be protected from forcible deportation, expulsion or repatriation contrary to the non-refoulement principle.
Over the past few years the UNAMI and the High Commissioner on Human Rights have been closely monitoring the situation in Camp Ashraf, exploring possible assistance in reaching a resolution that is consistent with Iraq’s sovereignty rights, and international law. UNAMI is committed to continue monitoring the situation in the Camp.Read More Download
Baghdad– At different meetings with representatives of the Government of Iraq and with representatives of the diplomatic community in Baghdad, UNAMI has continued to promote further consultations concerning the future of the residents of Camp Ashraf.
In light of the Government’s announcement that initial steps will be undertaken on 15 December, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ad Melkert, has reiterated the UN’s concern that any action should be based on the principle that residents should be protected from forcible deportation, expulsion or repatriation contrary to the non-refoulement principle.
UNAMI calls on all stakeholders to intensify consultations to look for a resolution that is consistent with Iraq’s legitimate sovereignty rights and international law; that will be based on the free expression of personal preference by individual residents; and that will seriously address options for voluntary resettlement outside Iraq.
The UN remains committed in the weeks ahead to monitor the situation in the camp on a daily basis, following the practice of regular monitoring over the past few years by UNAMI and the High Commissioner on Human Rights.Read More Download
UNHCR calls for cooperation and solidarity amid efforts to find solutions for the residents of Camp “New Iraq”
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) called today for cooperation, patience and understanding of all parties involved in efforts to find solutions for the residents of the Camp “New Iraq” (formerly camp Ashraf) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad. Protection and solutions for some 3,200 current and former residents of the camp are the primary objectives of efforts led by the United Nations to close the camp peacefully and resolve the situation of its residents.
UNHCR is currently assessing individual protection needs of former residents of Camp New Iraq once they are transferred to Hurriya (Liberty) transit centre. “Status determination, however, does not in itself resolve things,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Ms. Erika Feller, on return recently from Baghdad. “It must be accompanied by efforts from all concerned, in good faith and in a spirit of international solidarity, to offer resettlement solutions and, in the interim, to assist people to stay safely and decently until such solutions can be materialized”.Read More Download