United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office in Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
November 3, 2020
On behalf of the suffering families of the members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO), whose loved ones joined this organization, and now have no information about their status, I would like to inform you that more than six months ago these families sent hundreds of complaints, with detailed documents and explanations. They demanded that the situation of their loved ones who became members of the MEK be investigated.
The MEK was stationed at Camp Ashraf in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and was fighting against Iran alongside the Iraqis. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Camp came under US protection and was then handed over to Iraqi forces as ‘the last stronghold of Saddam Hussein’.
At the urging of successive Iraqi governments and with the efforts of the United Nations, the process of MEK expulsion began, and the names of each group leaving Iraq and entering Albania were announced. The process was slow and in very small numbers. But suddenly, in the late summer of 2016, the organization announced that the rest of the people (nearly 3,000), who were supposed to be only several hundreds, had also been transferred to Albania. The names of these people were never published.
MEK members are housed in a remote, isolated camp in Albania where the residents are inaccessible and uncontactable. The families of hundreds of MEK members have no information about the condition of their loved ones.
Also, many of these families have faced various economic and legal problems, including issues related to inheritance, due to the disappearance of these people, and the lack of access to these people has caused them many difficulties for years. MEK members do not have the opportunity to do legal work or appoint a lawyer.
Recently, the MEK reacted to the complaints of these families to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances in its media and tried to make public a few out of their thousands of members and pretend that they have not disappeared but could be found in a certain place. However, their families still have no communication with or access to them.
Hundreds of letters have been sent by these families to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. A small number of respondents have requested the completion of explanations and documents, which has been done immediately, but it seems that the process is very slow.
It should be noted that on February 6, 2007, Albania signed the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted in New York on December 20, 2006, which entered into force on November 8, 2007.
According to Article 31 of the Convention, a State Party must cooperate in the case of the enforced disappearance of any particular person in its own country. Article 32 also emphasizes this issue and the responsibilities of the member states.
These families have sent a great many letters to the Albanian government with the necessary explanations and specifications and have raised a petition signed by more than 11,000 people. The original signatures have been delivered to the Albanian embassy in Paris on 550 pages, but unfortunately there has not been any response from the Albanian government up to now. Therefore, the UN Committee needs to clarify its undertakings on the complaints it has received, and to take legal action to resolve this issue.
On behalf of the families, I would like to thank the Committee on Enforced Disappearances in advance and look forward to learning from you.
Nejat Society CEO