Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (20 April):
“According to information confirmed by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), 34 people were killed and numerous others injured when Iraqi security forces forcibly entered Camp Ashraf.
I find this deeply regrettable, and I urge the Iraqi government to immediately commence an independent investigation into these events and to enable the injured to receive medical care. Iraqi security forces are called upon to proceed responsibly and with a sense of proportion, and without endangering any more lives.
At the same time I appeal to the leaders of Camp Ashraf to forego violence and to grant an independent investigation commission full access to the camp. The leaders of Camp Ashraf must enable all of the injured to receive medical care, and must ensure full protection of the rights of the camp’s inhabitants. This includes the right to leave the camp.”
Some 3500 members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MKO) and their family members currently live in Camp Ashraf. During the Iran-Iraq War, the MKO fought under Saddam Hussein against Iran. They are viewed as a strictly hierarchical organization which has never distanced itself from terrorist violence. It has often been reported that inhabitants of the camp have been prevented by their leaders from leaving Camp Ashraf.
The camp came under US control after American forces disarmed the MKO’s military units in 2003; responsibility for Camp Ashraf was handed over to Iraq at the beginning of 2009. The Iraqi Government is eager to establish full state sovereignty over Ashraf, and to dismantle the camp structures.