- Friday, 22 February 2013 00:03
Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan has urged the Foreign Secretary and the UN Secretary General to take action to stop the “slaughter of innocent refugees” in Iraq.
The Anglican leader accuses the UN of playing a “destructive role” in a crisis situation and claims a “great crime against humanity” has taken place.
As next month’s 10-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq looms, Dr Morgan fears for the safety of thousands of Iranian dissidents who say their lives are in danger.
Earlier this month the UN confirmed people had been killed at Camp Liberty, a former US base which now shelters Iranian exiles who allowed to settle in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
The People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), the group based at Camp Liberty, claims a rocket attack took place and they were stopped from taking casualties to hospital – an accusation denied by Iraqi officials.
The Welsh Archbishop states in his letter Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “In the early morning of Saturday February 9, Camp Liberty (Baghdad) which houses 3,100 Iranian dissidents including 1,000 women was attacked by at least 40 missiles and heavy mortars. Six people including a woman were killed and more than 100 wounded in this brutal attack.
“Some of the injured are in a critical condition.”
Dr Morgan alleges the chief of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) was “repeatedly warned” about the “vulnerability of Camp Liberty to attacks, the inhumane conditions under which the residents lived and the serious threats to their well-being from or at the behest of the Iranian regime.”
The archbishop wants a new chief of UNAMI installed and states he wants the UK Government to “strongly condemn the slaughter of innocent refugees” and “take action to bring the matter to the UN Security Council in order for it to take steps to guarantee that the residents of Camp Liberty are given humanitarian aid and returned to Camp Ashraf.”
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has called on “all countries to help find urgent solutions for the Camp Liberty residents.”
He emphasised the residents of Camp Liberty are asylum seekers undergoing the refugee status determination process and are entitled to international protection, saying: “I strongly condemn this attack. This is a despicable act of violence.
“I call on the Iraqi Government to do everything it can to guarantee security to the residents. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice without delay.”
Last year Dr Morgan warned that the dissidents, who previously lived in Camp Ashraf, were in danger.
In a letter to Mr Gutterres, he said the Iraqi Government had attacked the camp and its inhabitants lived “under an inhumane siege including a medical siege”.
He warned that “Iran wants to annihilate Ashraf and its residents as they are Iran’s main opposition and inspire millions of people in Iran who cry freedom,” adding: “The Iranian regime is using its proxies in the Iraqi government to carry out this plan with the collaboration of various UN agencies.”
The Foreign Office and the United Nations have been invited to comment.