Rowan Williams says both the countries have a duty to protect Iranian refugees the Camp Ashraf
22nd September 2009: The head of the Church of England has urged Iraq and the United States to protect Iranian refugees lodged in a camp in Iraq from violence or abuse.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has asserted both the countries have a duty to protect Iranian refugees at the Camp Ashraf, located in the northeast of Baghdad; and asked for the establishment of a UN monitoring group to visit the camp, which is home to 3,500 People’s Mujahedeen members and their families. Williams has also urged protesters in Britain to end their hunger strike in support of the camp residents.
The Archbishop said both the governments as agencies responsible for the transfer of the residents to another jurisdiction were under obligation to secure the rights of these residents and to defend them from violence or abuse.
In a statement, the Archbishop said there was a strong argument in terms of international law that the Ashraf residents were ‘protected persons’. The assertion follows a raid on the camp by the Iraqi forces in Diyala province in July. In all, 11 people were killed in the offensive.