UN chief condemns attack on Iranian exile camp in Iraq
9 February 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned a mortar attack on an Iranian exile camp near Iraq's capital, Baghdad, which reportedly killed six people and injured several others.
According to media reports, the Hurriya camp, formerly known as Camp Liberty, was attacked this morning while most of the residents were sleeping. Iraqi police officers were among the wounded.
The camp serves as a transit facility for more than 3,000 exiles, most of them members of a group known as the People's Mojahedeen of Iran, where a process to determine their refugee status is being carried out by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Camp residents were previously situated at Camp Ashraf in eastern Iraq, but were relocated last year, in line with an agreement signed in December 2011 between the UN and the Iraqi Government.
“The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Iraq, which is responsible for the safety and security of residents of both Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, to promptly and fully investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice,” said Mr. Ban's spokesperson in a statement. “He has repeatedly stated that violence and provocation are unacceptable.”
Mr. Ban also reiterated the UN's strong commitment to continue its long-standing efforts to facilitate a peaceful and durable solution for residents of both camps.
The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, expressed his shock about the attack calling it “a despicable act of violence.”
“I call on the Iraqi Government to do everything it can to guarantee security to the residents,” he said. “The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice without delay.”
In a news release, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said it is closely liaising with the Government on the response to the incident, including medical assistance to the wounded.
Mr. Ban's Special Representative in the country, Martin Kobler, has also asked Iraqi authorities to promptly conduct an investigation into the mortar explosions.