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UN experts call on Iraq government to provide whereabouts of Camp Ashraf residents

UN human rights experts on Monday called on the Iraqi government to provide information on seven residents of Camp Ashraf [map] who were allegedly abducted in September amidst an attack that left 52 people dead [UNAMI report]. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances [official website] demanded that the Iraqi government "speed up the investigations in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of the individuals." UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan Mendez [official profile], added that "[d]etention in secret places can facilitate the perpetration of torture and other ill-treatment and can in itself constitute a form of such treatment." UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns [official profile], noted that failure to investigated allegations of killings in a prompt, effective and impartial manner is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text]. More than 3,000 Irani refugees have been based at the camp since the 1980s.

In September the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] and the League of Defense of Human Rights in Iraq called on [JURIST report] the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) [official website] to investigate the deaths of the more than 50 refugees discovered by UN officials in Camp Ahraf. This was 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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