Iranian Resistance

S.Con.Res.42 –

A concurrent resolution to express the sense of Congress regarding the safe and expeditious resettlement to Albania of all residents of Camp Liberty was unanimously passed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 14, 2016 and was referred to the Senate floor for vote. The resolution was introduced by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), and was co-sponsored in a bi-partisan way by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Test of the resolution is below:

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate (07/14/2016)

Calendar No. 567

114th CONGRESS
2d Session

S. CON. RES. 42

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 6, 2016

Mr. McCain (for himself, Mrs. Shaheen, and Mr. Tillis) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

July 14, 2016

Reported by Mr. Corker, without amendment

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

To express the sense of Congress regarding the safe and expeditious resettlement to Albania of all residents of Camp Liberty.
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring),
SECTION 1. Sense of Congress on the safe resettlement of Camp Liberty residents.
It is the sense of Congress that the United States should—
(1) work with the Government of Iraq and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure that all residents of Camp Liberty are safely and expeditiously resettled in Albania;

(2) work with the Government of Iraq, the Government of Albania, and the UNHCR to prevent the Government of Iran from intervening in the resettlement process by abusing international organizations, including Interpol and other organizations of which the United States is a member;

(3) urge the Government of Iraq to take prompt and appropriate steps in accordance with international agreements to promote the physical security and protection of residents of Camp Liberty during the resettlement process, including steps to ensure that the personnel responsible for providing security at Camp Liberty are adequately vetted to determine that they are not affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force;

(4) urge the Government of Iraq to ensure continued and reliable access to food, clean water, medical assistance, electricity and other energy needs, and any other equipment and supplies necessary to sustain the residents during the resettlement process;

(5) work with the Government of Iraq to make all reasonable efforts to facilitate the sale of residents’ property and assets remaining at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty for the purpose of funding their cost of living and resettlement out of Iraq;

(6) work with the Government of Iraq and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure that Camp Liberty residents may exercise full control of all personal assets in Camp Liberty and the former Camp Ashraf as the residents deem necessary;

(7) assist, and maintain close and regular communication with the UNHCR for the purpose of expediting the ongoing resettlement of all residents of Camp Liberty, without exception, to Albania;

(8) urge the Government of Albania, and the UNHCR to ensure the continued recognition of the resettled residents as “persons of concern” entitled to international protections according to principles and standards in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, done at Geneva July 28, 1951, and the International Bill of Human Rights; and

(9) work with the Government of Albania and the UNHCR to facilitate and provide suitable locations for housing of the remaining Camp Liberty residents in Albania until such time when the residents become self-sufficient in meeting their residential needs in Albania.

Calendar No. 567

114th CONGRESS
2d Session

S. CON. RES. 42

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

To express the sense of Congress regarding the safe and expeditious resettlement to Albania of all residents of Camp Liberty.

July 14, 2016

Reported without amendment

H. Res. 650 passed unanimously in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 18, 2016 which calls for the safety and security of Camp Liberty residents

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 18, 2016–The House Foreign Affairs Committee today unanimously adopted H. Res. 650, “Providing for the safety and security of the Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq and awaiting resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and permitting use of their own assets to assist in their resettlement.”

The bipartisan resolution had some 60 cosponsors, including several committee and subcommittee chairs and ranking members.
During the markup, a variety of committee leaders and key representatives spoke in favor of the resolution, including:

Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA),
Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY),
Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL),
Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee Chair Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA),
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee Chair Judge Ted Poe (R-TX), and
Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee Ranking Member Brad Sherman (D-CA),
House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Ranking Member Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

The resolution includes a pragmatic idea for improving the security of Camp Liberty residents, which was also proposed by senior Senators, led by Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Specifically, the resolution “calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq to bring Camp Liberty/Hurriya to the same level of protection as that of the adjacent Baghdad International Airport to deter future attacks on the camp and ensure safety and security of the residents.”

In addition, the resolution calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq to ensure that personnel responsible for providing the security of Camp Liberty “are not now, and have not been previously affiliated, directly or indirectly, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force or other organizations responsible for past attacks.” It further “urges the Government of Iraq to ensure access to food, clean water, medical assistance, electricity, equipment, and such supplies that are necessary to sustain the residents.”

The resolution also “calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq to make all reasonable efforts to facilitate the residents’ access and ability to sell their property and assets remaining at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty for the purpose of funding their costs of living and resettlement out of Iraq.”

It addition, it “commends the Government of Albania and the Albanian people for their generous resettlement of the residents of Camp Liberty.”

During the markup, Rep. Engel told the committee, “The residents of Camp Liberty deserve to live in dignity and without fear of violence. Last October’s rocket attacks on the unarmed residents of Camp Liberty by a Shia militia with ties to Iran killed 24 people. It’s the height of cowardice. We are still waiting for the perpetrators of this attack to be brought to justice.”

Also during the proceedings, Chairman Royce said the fact that all 44 members of the House Foreign Affairs committee supported the resolution sends a strong message and that his goal is to move the resolution to the house floor for vote expeditiously.

Text of H. Res. 650, as amended, Providing for the safety and security of the Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce Statement on Camp Liberty Attack

114th CONGRESS

2d Session
H. RES. 650
Providing for the safety and security of the Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq and awaiting resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and permitting use of their own assets to assist in their resettlement.

RESOLUTION

Providing for the safety and security of the Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq and awaiting resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and permitting use of their own assets to assist in their resettlement.

Whereas approximately 2,000 unarmed members of the Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) reside in Camp Liberty/Hurriya awaiting resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has recognized them as “persons of concern” and “in need of international protection”;
Whereas these residents oppose the clerical regime in Tehran and, as a result of that opposition, live in constant danger of attack from pro-Iranian forces;
Whereas these residents moved from the former Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty/Hurriya, which is adjacent to the Baghdad International Airport, following a December 2011 Memorandum of Understanding reached between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq, and brokered by the Government of the United States, for the express purpose of resettling them as refugees to third countries;
Whereas the residents left behind valuable personal property and assets at Camp Ashraf, under the explicit agreement that they would retain title to such property and assets;
Whereas in 2004, the United States recognized the residents as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention and pledged to protect the residents until their final disposition;
Whereas the United States turned over control and responsibility of the residents to the Government of Iraq in early 2009, as reflected in the United States Embassy Statement on Transfer of Security Responsibility for Camp Ashraf of December 28, 2008;
Whereas the residents have come under attack several times since their relocation to Camp Liberty/Hurriya;
Whereas Iraqi forces who bear responsibility for guarding the camp have failed to protect its residents from repeated attacks;
Whereas most recently, during the evening of October 29, 2015, the residents of Camp Liberty came under rocket attack, with 80 missiles killing 24 residents and injuring dozens more;
Whereas Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the October 29 attack, describing it as a “brutal, senseless terrorist attack”, and calling for “find[ing] the perpetrators and hold[ing] them accountable for the attack”;
Whereas the United Nations Secretary-General strongly condemned these attacks and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice;
Whereas the UNHCR described the attacks as “most deplorable”;
Whereas 140 residents have died as a result of the attacks, 7 have been abducted, and more than 1,300 wounded;
Whereas groups affiliated with the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard Qods Force have claimed responsibility for attacks and warned that more would follow if the residents did not leave Iraq;
Whereas Iraqi security forces are permanently stationed around Camp Liberty/Hurriya, despite their past violence against the unarmed residents;
Whereas the security of Camp Liberty/Hurriya is clearly inadequate to protect the residents from armed assault and rocket attack;
Whereas the residents are opposed to the development in Iran of a nuclear weapons capability and have provided valuable intelligence concerning efforts by the Government of Iran both to establish a nuclear weapons capability and to supply paramilitary groups in Iraq with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs);
Whereas the United States Department of State in its August 29, 2012, statement stated, “The United States also reiterates its commitment to support the safety and security of the residents throughout the process of their relocation outside of Iraq”;
Whereas hundreds of the residents have been resettled to Europe;
Whereas the Government of Albania has generously resettled approximately 1,000 residents from Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq to Albania, and has committed to resettle an additional 2,000 residents, in demonstration of international solidarity in caring for a vulnerable population; and
Whereas the residents have been unable to access or sell their property remaining at Camp Ashraf for the purposes of supporting themselves or funding their resettlement: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns the attacks against the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya;

(2) urges the Government of Iraq to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks;

(3) calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq to bring Camp Liberty/Hurriya to the same level of protection as that of the adjacent Baghdad International Airport to deter future attacks on the camp and ensure safety and security of the residents;

(4) calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq to ensure that the personnel responsible for providing for the security of Camp Liberty/Hurriya are adequately equipped and vetted to ensure that they are not now, and have not been previously affiliated, directly or indirectly, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force or other organizations responsible for past attacks;

(5) urges the Government of Iraq to ensure access to food, clean water, medical assistance, electricity, equipment, and such supplies that are necessary to sustain the residents;

(6) calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq to make all reasonable efforts to facilitate the residents’ access and ability to sell their property and assets remaining at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty for the purpose of funding their costs of living and resettlement out of Iraq;

(7) urges the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Iraq and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure that Camp Liberty/Hurriya residents, without exception, are safely resettled outside of Iraq and Iran according to the terms of the December 2011 Memorandum of Understanding;

(8) commends the Government of Albania and the Albanian people for their generous resettlement of the residents of Camp Liberty/Hurriya; and

(9) calls on the Government of the United States to work with the Government of Albania and the UNHCR to continue to facilitate and provide suitable locations for housing of the remaining Camp Liberty/Hurriya residents in Albania until such time when the residents become self-sufficient in meeting their residential needs in Albania.

Media Contact 202-225-5021
Oct 29, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the recent attack on Camp Liberty:

“Today’s reported attack, yet another deadly assault on civilians in Camp Liberty, is deeply troubling. The Iraqi government must provide immediate aid to the wounded and suffering.
“With growing Iranian involvement in Iraq, the security situation around Camp Liberty is increasingly risky. The Iraqi Government made an international commitment to protect the Camp’s residents. The U.S. and international community must demand accountability.”

Ranking Member Eliot Engel:
Camp Liberty residents face terrible injustice

Standing alongside Rep. Ed Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, at a Congressional briefing on November 5, 2015, Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said: “I think you know where the chairman and I both stand, we are totally in sympathy with the people of Camp Liberty. We are totally against the repression of the Iranian regime and what they’ve done. We think that the people of the United States need to understand more clearly about what is really happening.”

“What I’ve tried to do in the 27 years I’ve served in Congress and on the Foreign Affairs Committee is always be on the side of justice no matter where it is in the world. And certainly we know the terrible injustice that has happened to the occupants of Camp Liberty and the terrible injustice that the Iranian people are having right now an oppressive government that is preventing them from being free people. And so I want to just let you know that I certainly stand with you.”

Congressman Engel from New York added: “Keep on spreading the truth so that the American people and the people of the world will understand that what has happened is a tragedy and that we have to end this tragedy. We have to end it and we can no longer look the other way, the world needs to focus on what is happening here. And I want just to assure you in closing that you will always have my support and you have very great leaders and we will keep talking about it until those people are free.”

The Residents of Camp Liberty:
A Timeline of Events

Sept 1965 The Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) is founded by left-leaning Muslim Iranian university students devoted to removing the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The group offers a moderate Muslim platform based on the following principles:

Equality between men and women
Equality among those of different religions and races
Equality of all citizens before law
Equitable distribution of wealth
Belief that the clergy should not have total control over their congregations
Belief that the clergy had a backward, feudalistic and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam
These basic tenets place the group at odds with both the Shah’s regime and the rising Islamic fundamentalists.

Aug 1971 Shah’s regime arrests 69 members of MEK, including the core of its leadership; vast majority are imprisoned or sent to the gallows, including the three founding members.
Feb 1979 Shah is overthrown by a popular uprising; fundamentalists quickly take power and marginalize secular forces. MEK becomes the largest opposition political party in Iran.
June 1981 MEK holds a peaceful, half-a-million strong demonstration in Tehran; regime responds with brute force, killing dozens and arresting hundreds. The reign of terror begins.
July 1981 Massoud Rajavi forms the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Tehran to unite the opposition; departs Iran to establish headquarters in Paris.
June 1986 MEK establishes base at Camp Ashraf in Iraq across the border of Iran after signing a peace agreement with the Iraqi Government.
Oct 1993 NCRI elects Maryam Rajavi as its President-elect.
April 2003 US topples the government of Saddam Hussein.
May 2003 MEK agrees to “voluntary consolidation” and demobilization in exchange for US protection of all its members at Camp Ashraf.
July 2004 US formally recognizes Camp Ashraf residents as “Protected Persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention; US forces take up protection.
Sept 2008 Iran and Iraq approve a 7-point agreement for the expulsion of MEK members from Ashraf and closure of the camp.
Jan 2009 US officially hands protection of Camp Ashraf to Iraqi government despite Congressional and international protests.
July 2009 Iraqi Army and police attack residents of Camp Ashraf, killing 13 and injuring hundreds amidst the summer uprisings in Iran.
April 2011 Iraqi Army wages attack on residents of Camp Ashraf, killing 36 and injuring 345.
Sept 2011 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) declares Ashraf residents “asylum-seekers” subject to international protections.
Feb 2012 Urged by US Government, Ashraf residents relocate to Camp Liberty; US State Department commits “to support safety and security of residents until the last of the residents leaves Iraq.”
Feb 2013 Camp Liberty comes under rocket attack by pro-Iran militias, killing 8 and injuring more than 100.
June 2013 Agents of Ayatollah Khamenei and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki carry out missile attack on Camp Liberty, killing 3 and injuring 70.
Sept 2013 Iraqi Special Forces (Golden Division) attacks Camp Ashraf, executes 52 of the 101 residents who had remained in the Camp as custodians of resident property under agreement with Iraqi Government. 7 others abducted.
Dec 2013 Camp Liberty residents attacked with missiles, killing 4 and injuring 71.
Oct 2015 Camp Liberty residents attacked by Iranian Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards and elements within the ruling Iraqi establishment, killing 24 and injuring dozens.

President Obama signs Defense Authorization Bill into law requiring protection of Iranian dissidents in Camp Liberty

On November 25, 2015, President Obama signed the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill into law which includes a seven points language on the security and protection of members of Iranian opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) in Camp Liberty, Iraq.The relevant language is below:

The United States should–

(1) take prompt and appropriate steps in accordance with international agreements to promote the physical security and protection of residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq;

(2) urge the Government of Iraq to uphold its commitments to the United States to ensure the safety and well-being of those living in Camp Liberty;

(3) urge the Government of Iraq to ensure continued and reliable access to food, clean water, medical assistance, electricity and other energy needs, and any other equipment and supplies necessary to sustain the residents during periods of attack or siege by external forces;

(4) oppose the extradition of Camp Liberty residents to Iran;

(5) assist the international community in implementing a plan to provide for the safe, secure, and permanent relocation of Camp Liberty residents, including a detailed outline of steps that would need to be taken by recipient countries, the United States, the Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Camp residents to relocate residents to other countries;

(6) encourage continued close cooperation between the residents of Camp Liberty and the authorities in the relocation process; and

(7) assist the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in expediting the ongoing resettlement of all residents of Camp Liberty to safe locations outside Iraq.
Signing this bill into a law represents a very big victory for Iranian Resistance, residents of Camp Liberty and their supporters in the United States and Europe.

Remarks by Senator Joe Lieberman on Camp Liberty & Mrs. Rajavi

Video of attack on Camp Ashraf in April 2011

Massacre at Camp Ashraf in September 2013

Middle East sub-committee chair, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Condemning Camp Liberty Attack

Judge Ted Poe, chairman of Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade speaks on Camp Liberty

Rep. Brad Sherman, ranking member, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on Camp Liberty