Remembering the brutal attack on Camp Ashraf in 2009Published by International Liberty on July 29, 2015
July 28 and 29 mark the 6th anniversary of the Nuri Maliki-led Iraqi government’s massacre at Camp Ashraf which left 11 residents killed and nearly 500 wounded, and a further 36 camp residents taken hostage.
On 28-29 July, 2009, the Iraqi Army under the direct order of Nuri al-Maliki attacked the unarmed and defenceless Camp Ashraf residents.
The unprovoked attack on the group of refugees drew widespread condemnation from international lawmakers, human rights organizations and religious personalities.
Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights, the World Organization Against Torture, and the Archbishop of Canterbury were among those who condemned the attack and expressed concern about the situation of Camp Ashraf residents in numerous statements.
Other Camp Ashraf residents and their families and supporters around the world launched a 72-day hunger strike that eventually forced the Iraqi government to release on October 7 the 36 Camp Ashraf hostages that had been arrested and tortured. The Iraqi courts had issued three verdicts by this time ordering the Iraqi government to release the detained residents.
There was also a major international campaign to compel the U.S. government and the United Nations to live up to their legal and moral responsibility to protect the Camp Ashraf residents.
A resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 24 April 2009, had reiterated that the residents of Camp Ashraf were ‘Protected Persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The EP had called on the Iraqi Government to respect the rights of the residents and refrain from their expulsion or forcible displacement within Iraq and to put an end to the siege imposed on them.
Following the brutal attack on Camp Ashraf in 2009, under Maliki’s watch, the Iraqi army and Shiite militia groups backed by the Iranian regime have carried out five other deadly massacres and rocket attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, where the residents were later relocated under pressure from the UN.
Since 2009, both Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty have been under a barbaric siege where delivery of food, fuel and medicine has been constantly hampered and visits by family members, human rights organizations, residents’ lawyers, international lawmakers and independent journalists have been disallowed.