No evidence of ill-treatment against MKO returnees

UK Parliament: No evidence of ill-treatment against MKO returnees

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ask the government of Iraq to remove all restrictions on supporters of theUK Parliament: No evidence of ill-treatment against MKO returnees People’s Mujahedin of Iran based in Ashraf City following the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice. [257284]

Bill Rammell: On 26 January 2009, taking into account the judgment by the Court of First Instance on 4 December 2008, the General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted a list which did not include the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK/PMOI). Mindful of this 4 December judgement annulling the July 2008 listing of the MEK/PMOI, the UK believes that EU member states must observe and respect the court’s judgment in the current review of the EU list of terrorist organisations.

Residents of the camp are free to leave at any time if they demonstrate they have the appropriate travel documentation and finance to leave the camp and take up residence either in Iran or in a third country. Voluntary repatriations to Iran have previously taken place and, we understand, without the returnees concerned being ill treated. Such reparations will continue for those who wish to do this. There is no evidence to suggest forced relocation of the residents in Iraq or elsewhere will take place.

The US received assurances from the Iraqi authorities which make clear their commitment to the humane treatment and continued wellbeing of the camp residents. We understand that in addition to this the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights have also visited the camp and delivered these assurances to a representative body of the residents. We are naturally concerned that the rights of all those involved are observed and that camp residents continue to be treated humanely and their fundamental human rights be maintained.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to put in place mechanisms to protect supporters of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran based in Ashraf City. [257285]

 

Bill Rammell: I should clarify that it was the US, not the UK, who had responsibility for the security and administration of the camp. The US informed us of its plans to hand responsibility for the camp to the Iraqi authorities from 1 January 2009 and this has now taken place. Both the Iraqi authorities and the US had been involved in discussions with the UN High Commissioner

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for Refugees and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq on modalities. The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights also played a key role in overseeing the transition. In addition we understand that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) discusses, on a confidential basis, all of the issues surrounding the camp with the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK/PMOI) and the Iraqi and US authorities. The ICRC follows developments at the camp closely and visits regularly.

The US received assurances from the Iraqi authorities before the handover took place making clear their commitment to the humane treatment and continued wellbeing of the camp residents. We understand that in addition to this the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights have also visited the camp and delivered these assurances to a representative body of the residents.

We are naturally concerned that the rights of all those residents involved are observed and that they continue to be treated humanely and their fundamental human rights be maintained. In this regard, we understand that as a result of their extensive contacts the US are satisfied that the Iraqi authorities are fully aware of their responsibilities with regard to Camp Ashraf and its residents.

 

On 26 January 2009, bearing in mind the judgment by the Court of First Instance on 4 December 2008, the General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted a list which did not include the MEK/PMOI organisation. The 4 December judgment annulled the July 2008 listing of the MEK/PMOI, the UK therefore believe that EU member states must observe and respect the court’s judgment in the current review of the EU list of terrorist organisations.

House of Commons 

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