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Camp Ashraf: Refuge in (not just from) Iraq

Parliamentarians and jurists met in London on Tuesday to call upon the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States to propose a draft text to the UN Security Council implementing blue helmet protection of Camp Ashraf to prevent a major massacre when US troops leave Iraq. They have also called on the Iraqi government to abandon its plan of forcibly shutting down the camp at the end of the year– to prevent bloodshed and to give the UNHCR time to process individual refugee cases.

Camp Ashraf– located 40 miles north of Baghdad, near the Iranian border– has become what one parliamentarian called “a beacon of hope” not just for the 3,400 members of Iran’s main opposition group (the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, also known as MEK) who have fled there, but for millions of Iranians who support them.

While the “beacon of hope” thesis has been disputed, Iraqi government violence against the residents of Camp Ashraf has been documented by the UN. The United States and the international community should take steps to protect refugees at Camp Ashraf as the year draws to a close.