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ADVT’s Letter to Martin Kobler, UN Special Representative for Iraq

Concerns over Ashraf Camp; MKO Leaders Attempts for Saving a Cultic Structure ADVT's Letter to Martin Kobler, UN Special Representative for Iraq
Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism (ADVT) is a non-governmental, cultural institute, whose members are the families and children of terrorism victims. Taking into account a humanitarian approach, ADVT presents a more comprehensive definition of terrorism; we believe that other than the direct victims of terrorism who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks, the people who have unwillingly and forcefully been trapped in the cultic structures of terrorist groups are also victims of terrorism.

Sending a letter to Martin Kobler, UN Special Representative for Iraq, Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism explained some issues regarding with the situation of Ashraf Camp. In this letter we read:

Approaching the deadline appointed for the closure of Ashraf Camp coincides with the widespread efforts of Mojahedin-e Khalq (MKO) leaders for delaying the longstanding demand of Iraqi people and government. Along with these measures, the cult leaders managed to run a propaganda atmosphere in which they could show themselves as oppressed people and accordingly get the support of some of the officials. For a better understanding of the issue, some points are needed to be mentioned:

The first critical question that comes into our mind is that whether the concerns and apprehensions of MKO leaders are related to keeping the cultic structure of Ashraf Camp or it is about the residents and members of Ashraf? Whether the concerns are the voices of Ashraf residents or they have been made by leaders of this organization? Can we regard the commanders of Ashraf as the truthful relaters of the demands of Ashraf inhabitants? And the last question is that what is the main objective of the cult leaders for protecting and keeping Ashraf base? Responding these questions would lead us to make a correct decision about Ashraf Camp and its future.
Analyzing the statements of Mojahedin-e Khalq leaders in various meetings and under different topics, makes it clear that the concerns of its leaders are only limited to protecting the cultic structure of Ashraf Camp and occasional reference to the members is just for achieving this aim. In fact, In spite of the widespread propaganda of the MKO on freedom, democracy and human rights, the members of Ashraf garrison are deprived from their globally recognized principle rights. This issue is totally confirmed by the reports of independent institutes including Human Rights Watch, RAND and confessions of former MKO members. According to the confessions of Maryam Sanjabi (former member of MKO and NCRI Leadership Council), Barat Keykhaii and Abdollatif Chardori (former MKO members) who have recently managed to defect the cult, members of this organization have been mentally exploited and denied from their primary rights as human beings.

In addition, comparing the demands and statements of organization leaders in international scenes and their propaganda activities, with the remarks of defected members, we can find very significant contradictions between the demands of Ashraf residents and leaders’ claims. The interviews made with some members of MKO who have managed to flee from the Camp, can be regarded as the evidences of this claim. [1]

Responding the question about the real purpose of MKO leaders in saving the Ashraf garrison, we have to refer to the cultic structure of this group. Gender separation, obligatory divorce as well as keeping the MKO members within mental and social limitations, brainwashing them, imposing celibacy, even cutting off their relations with family and friends, dividing them from society, and finally imposing their own wills on the members, are among the cases that occur frequently in Ashraf base. [2] In fact, the commanders of MKO are completely aware that only through keeping the members within the fences of Ashraf; they can prevent the dissolution of their group. For this reason, they have conditioned the closure of Ashraf on getting collective political asylum for all members. With this introduction, let’s consider some of the human rights violations in Ashraf camp and reveal the cultic feature governing this organization, through describing the type of relations between members and leaders:

Denying the Right to Life
The right to life is the clearest indisputable right of every human being. Section 1 of Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights asserts that “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. “This is while the Mojahedin-e Khalq cult has completely ignored this right. This cult has murder 12000 people in Iran; we have to add the murder of thousands of Iraqis and seven American military advisors to this figure. Denying the right to life, which is the gross violation of human rights, implies that this cult does not believe in any other principle rights of human beings including the right to freedom of expression.

But the cases of human rights violation are not just limited to taking the lives of its opponents. The members of this organization, who are imprisoned in the military bases, are also deprived from their principle human rights. Undoubtedly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with two other International Covenants of civil and Political Rights and the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are among the most important international instruments in the field of Human Rights. Other conventions including the Convention on the Rights of Child, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and various conventions on genocide, torture and imprisonment were all violated by MKO.

Violation of Women’s Rights
Other than the women killed by this terrorist group, the women who have undergone brainwashing in this organization are considered as victims too. According to international reports like Red Cross, Human Rights Watch (May 2005) and RAND report (2009), these women are even deprived from their basic human rights including marriage and having children. Loving anyone other than MKO leaders would deserve punishment as well.

In contrary with Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, Article 10 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 23 of the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights, MKO considers the formation of a family as the biggest threat for the existence of the organization. Therefore, marriage is forbidden for members and getting divorce for married ones is obligatory.

Women are forced to do intolerable tasks and military exercises. They have to refrain from any emotional feelings. Women are not allowed to use cosmetics; faces of the females living in Ashraf lack any sign of femininity and looks like men’s appearance. According to the confessions of the MKO defected members, about 150 women’s wombs are being removed involuntarily by surgical operation.

These conditions have led to the escape of some MKO female members. In the case of being unable to flee from the organization, some have even committed suicide. Now the question is that why the international organizations have kept silence and do not act for releasing the women imprisoned by MKO.

Hostage taking, violent behavior and torture
More than half of the all civilian-members of the organization are living in the MKO camp by force. This is clearly mentioned in the reports published by US Department of Defense (RAND, 2009) and Human Rights watch (May, 2005). Studying these impartially compiled reports can demonstrate an obvious picture of the anti-human behavior of the MKO cult.

Another case of gross violation of human rights by Mojahedin-e Khalq includes compelling members to commit self-immolation (as the one occurred in June 2003 in European cities). In fact, MKO leadership considers the lives of the members as the property of the organization; accordingly members are needed to sacrifice their lives for the organization. Torturing and imprisoning the members who intend to leave the cult are other cases of breaching the human rights.

Denying Children’s Rights
The Children victims of the Mojahedin-e Khalq are divided into two groups: one group includes the children who have been assassinated before the eyes of their parents. In this regard, the Articles 14, 17,23,24,38 and 50 of the Forth Geneva Convention have explicitly emphasized on the observation of the Children’s rights during the war time and peace time. It has also condemned such violations and considered them prosecutable. The second category of children victims is the children whose parents are members of the organization. These children have to be parted from their parents due to cultic principles governing the organization. Articles 9 and 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child refer to the separation of children from their parents and prohibit such acts. This is while MKO has prevented the members from having spouse or children. After separating children from their parents, the organization transfers them to other countries and relocates them in charity institutes and raises fund through introducing them as orphans. MKO also uses these children as leverage for forcing their parents to continue cooperation with terrorist activities of the organization.

Having all of the above- mentioned points in mind, we, the families of terrorism victims call on the international community and humanitarian organizations to identify the threats against these individuals and take the required measures for removing the grounds of human rights violations; we wish to see a day in which not any woman be deprived from the right to motherhood, not any child loose the loving bosom of the family and not any human being deny his individual identity for the sake of a cult leader.

Here, we also would like to appreciate Your Excellency’s humane approach in introducing the Ashraf Camp as 3300 individual human rights files and consider it as a positive step for releasing the residents of Ashraf from the cultic framework governing on it. At the end, we hope that your mediatory measures, as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, in terminating the Human Rights violations in Ashraf Camp, can lead to the release and freedom of all MKO members.


[1] For this purpose, you can compare the reports and interviews published by Human Rights Watch and RAND (attached to the e-mail) with the claims of cult leaders published in the website of the MKO

[2] These points have been mentioned in the 2010 annual report of the Human Rights Office of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq too:

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