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MKO members in Albania feel invisible, they go unheard by the authorities

“The only thing I wish is that I meet Ahmad and embrace him tightly”, said Mrs. Abdi, a suffering mother whose dear son; Ahmad is enslaved behind the bars of the Cult of Rajavi in Tirana, Albania.

After the entire MKO members were transferred to Albania, Tirana, in last September, their suffering families felt a little relieved as they thought that their loved ones would no more be under rocket attacks like when they were in Iraq from time to time.

Perhaps families of the MKO members felt less concerned over the living conditions of their loved ones because they thought that this time the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was in charge of the transfer and protection of their children and of the body is required with the safety and protection of refugees.

Actually, the UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. As a natural result of the UNHCR’s duties, the MKO members must be able to choose for their future life in Albania or any other country with their own free will.

Nevertheless, in practice, the conditions have deteriorated for the hostages of the group in their camp in Tirana. Mrs. Abdi is an active member of Nejat Society – Tehran Branch. Enduring much hardship and sufferings during the years she was separated from her son. She has done her utmost efforts to liberate Ahmad. She traveled to the war-torn country of Iraq several times. She picketed in front of MKO Camps in Iraq along with other families asking to visit their beloved ones. His son is now in Albania; much farther than before and in a more isolated place than Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

While the primary purpose of the UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, members of the Cult of Rajavi are deprived from their most basic human rights. For instance, they are not even allowed to learn English as a refugee. Learning English is of course a vital skill for all refugees and migrants, helping them support integration and employment. It is particularly important for refugee women and girls, whose educational experiences in the cult have been very limited, and who may face additional isolation without this skill –particularly now that the cult regulations forbids socializing with the new society.

During year, UNHCR’s mission has gradually been expanded to include protecting and providing humanitarian assistance to whom it describes as persons "of concern". Hostages in the Cult of Rajavi (the MKO/ MEK) are definitely some of those “persons of concern”. They are victims of a very manipulative mind control system that controls each and every aspect of their life.

As a matter of fact, cult members who are taken as hostages in the group’s residence in Tirana are bearing a much more choking atmosphere than what they endured in Iraq. The cult leaders have increased control over the residents because the cult underwent a great rise in the process of defections immediately after the first cargos of members arrived in Albania.  Since then, the cult authorities besieged their loyal forces to impose more control over their hostages. For example, they have allegedly imprisoned three female members of the group’s Elite Council after they asked to leave the group following their relocation in Albania. Ms. Fatemeh Alizadeh is one of these recently defectors, the two others’ names will be published in a more suitable condition, according to a website run by defectors of the group. The report states that Ms. Alizadeh’s family’s attempts to make contact with her have been failed so far, since she has no access to the outside world and is held captive by the cult.

The Albanian government also seems to be cooperating with the cult. As the MEK is described as “skillful manipulators of public opinion” by the RAND report, it is not surprising if the government of Albania turns blind eye on the huge human rights violations committed in the Cult of Rajavi.

However, the UNHCR is definitely responsible for mental and physical problems of the refugees. As an international human rights body the UNHCR should not ignore the case of the MKO hostages who are under a systematic human rights violating cult.

By Mazda Parsi

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