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Question of the Day
Dispute over living conditions
Known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MeK, the dissidents sought the overthrow of Iran’s theocratic regime in the early 1980s, and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein gave them refuge at Camp Ashraf, a base near Baghdad. After Saddam’s overthrow in 2003, U.S. military forces disarmed the dissidents, who renounced violence in 2001.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an ally of Iran, has sought to shut down Camp Ashraf, which Iraqi forces have attacked several times with deadly results. The dissidents fear that Mr. al-Maliki will turn them over to Iran, where they expect they would be imprisoned, tortured or executed.
Mr. Boumedra, the lead U.N. official in talks with the Iraqis to close Camp Ashraf, said he advised Mr. Kobler not to accept a memorandum of understanding that came out of those talks because the Iraqis were dismissive of international human rights standards.
The relocation has stumbled primarily over conditions at Camp Liberty.
“The U.N. has insisted that Camp [Liberty] meets basic humanitarian standards as a precondition to the transfer of the residents and its involvement in the process,” Mr. Kotler said. “The camp does meet these standards and is ready and equipped to receive the remaining residents of Camp Ashraf.
“There has been continuous progress in the work to further improve the living conditions” at Camp Liberty, he added.
The ongoing issues include setting up a water treatment facility and the transfer of residents’ personal belongings to Camp Liberty.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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