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Iraq refugee camp massacre spurs calls for UN investigation

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] and the League of Defense of Human Rights in Iraq on Thursday called on the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) [official website] to investigate the deaths of more than 50 refugees [UNAMI report] discovered on Tuesday by UN officials in Camp Ahraf in the Diyala province [map]. A UNAMI envoy visited the site on Wednesday and confirmed the deaths of 52 individuals, noting that most were shot in the upper torso or head, several had their hands tied and seven more were missing. The envoy mediated between the refugee survivors and the Diyala police to facilitate the removal of the bodies to a morgue. In its call to the UN, FIDH noted [press release] an alleged statement of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [CFR backgrounder], "which welcomed and endorsed the killing of Camp Ashraf's residents as 'a historical revenge of brave children of martyred Iraqi mujaheds'" Meanwhile, the UN called on Iraqi forces to launch an investigation into the shootings and immediately provide extradition and protection on the surviving refugees.

This is not the first massacre to take place at Camp Ashraf. In January 2011 Spain launched an investigation [JURIST report] into a massacre carried out by an Iraqi Lietenant General which resulted in more than 500 casualties. Most of the citizens of the camp are members of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) [advocacy website], the largest Iranian opposition organization, whose members are considered protected persons under the Geneva Conventions [official website].

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