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Ashraf, A Refugee Camp or A City

The practical determination of whether a person is a refugee or not is most often left to certain government agencies within the host country. Resettlement is approved based on the conditions of the host country and after reconsiderations about the refugees manner of conduct if the country comes to notice the refugees are escalating the tension it tries to defuse.

It is not mandatory for any country to accept refugees that fail to recognize the accepted standards of the host, and it is a common practice in many Western countries to deport applicants sometimes after imprisonment or detention for certain security causes.

Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), settled in Iraq as guests and men of Saddam, was never required nor felt a need to apply to be housed as political refugees. At least, no evidence exist to verify the group’s claim. Besides, a refugee camp is a camp built up by governments or NGOs to meet basic human needs for a short time. Has Iraqi government built or controls Ashraf, where Mojahedin reside, or has the group ever referred to it as a refugee camp? They call it Ashraf City governed with their own overall control.

The presnt Iraqi government has the lagal right to reconsider about MKO’s resettlement even though the group might be right in its claim. Periodically, some expert in law is reported by MKO to have advocated the group’s right to political refugee. For instance, a Swiss lawyer, Marc Henzelin, is quoted by NCRI to have stated “PMOI members are all political refugees according to international instruments and it is not just up to the Iraqi government to deliver the status, but to recognize the status which is legally binding”. It seems he talks before he thinks.

The supervising international agencies like UNHCR cannot force a host country but may ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum with the option to return home voluntarily or to resettle in a third country. Neither has the Iraqi government been required nor have the members, as individuals to decide for their fate, been interviwed. It seems to be a serious business for responsible agencies to interfer since the Iraqi government does mean to expel MKO.

mojahedin.ws –  14/08/2006

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