In the new Iraq there is an atmosphere of freedom and institutional work and respect for human rights in various fields, particularly for detainees and prisoners. There are field visits by civic and human rights organisations as well as international and local advocates of those in prisons and detention centres across Iraq.
But a collection of humanitarian organizations and media, tribal leaders, who organized a field trip to Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf) in Diyala province, found dozens of families from Iran sitting at the gates of the camp demanding that the MKO leaders allow them access to their children inside the camp.
They say, “We came from Iran to meet with our children, but members of the MKO refuse to allow our entry into the camp to meet sons and daughters who came here twenty years ago. We have picketed here for thirty days”.
Al-bayyana Al-Jadida met some of the families. Mrs Fatima Babai , 45, said, “We have stayed in these tents for more than a month and the MKO does not allow us to meet our sons who have been detained for more than 20 years”. She added that, “despite the efforts made by the Iraqi government and the Ministry of Human Rights as well as United Nations delegates, the MKO leaders will not let us enter into the camp and meet our children. We do not have any news about them except their names and pictures are at the UN mission.
Inside the camp they are not allowed any media or communication like radio, television, or computer or telephones. They are not even allowed to mix freely with each other.
Mahmoud Piroozi said, “I came from Iran to meet my brother who has been detained in the camp for more than 22 years. I found his name and photograph at the Human Rights Commission of Iraq which is responsible for the camp. But I am denied entry to the camp with ridiculous reasons. I appeal through your newspaper to all humanitarian organizations and the Iraqi government to allow me to see my brother in the presence of officials of the Ministry of Human Rights and the United Nations and with respected elders of the Diyala province”.
The refusal of the MKO to allow family interviews between those who came from Iran to Iraq to meet with their children is a violation of divine laws and international laws recognized all over the world.
Iraq’s Senate confirmed that the MKO organization is not welcome in Iraq, especially because terrorist acts were taking place in areas adjacent to the camp and conferences and forums have been held there which are suspicious and violate the customs and laws on refugees. The MKO continued to host gatherings of notables and tribal leaders.
The families have come to Iraq with the support of the Iraqi government which is encouraging their children to return to Iran or any other country of their choice under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights.
The visit surprised MKO leaders who refuse to allow their members to meet with their families for fear they will leave the organization and Camp Ashraf and return to their homeland and their families. The MKO has thrown up excuses such as lack of names required for the interview with members of the organization, or that the children themselves do not desire an interview with their families or that they refuse to communicate with their families and their relatives.
The families are demanding interviews arranged and supervised with the presence of the media and civil society organizations and for the United Nations to follow-up the issue.
Al-bayyana Al-Jadida – Zuhair Fatlawi