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Ban calls for start of relocation of Iranian exiles living in camp in Iraq

Entrance gate of Camp Ashraf
Entrance gate of Camp Ashraf

Ban calls for start of relocation of Iranian exiles living in camp in Iraq

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for the start of the relocation of residents of the settlement in Iraq formerly known as Camp Ashraf, urging the Government and the camp dwellers to continue to cooperate so that the process can be carried out in a peaceful manner.

“The Secretary-General reiterates that the Government of Iraq bears the primary responsibility for the security and the welfare of the residents of Camp Ashraf,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

“At the same time, the residents of Camp Ashraf also bear a responsibility to abide by the laws of Iraq. Any provocation or violence must be avoided and would be unacceptable.”

The United Nations and the Iraqi Government on 25 December signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the voluntary relocation of several thousand Iranian exiles living in Camp New Iraq, previously known as Camp Ashraf, in the north-eastern part of the country.

On 31 January, the UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) and the human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said they had confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at the new relocation camp met international standards.

In his statement today, Mr. Ban acknowledged the efforts of the Iraqi Government to prepare the temporary transit location to host the residents and allow UNHCR to undertake refugee status determination.

He reiterated his call to Member States to contribute to a durable solution by demonstrating their readiness to accept eligible residents of Camp New Iraq who wish to resettle in third countries.

The Secretary-General stressed that the UN “remains strongly committed to continue to do its utmost to facilitate a peaceful and durable solution.”

Situated in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, Camp New Iraq camp houses several thousand members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran.