1- the section of TIPF (Temporary International Presence Facility) that is assigned to so called "defectors" of the MEK is a dry and barn piece of land twice the size of a football field that is protected by barbwires as high as 3 meters. The area has watch towers and looks and functions exactly the same as a prison and most accurately as we call it 2nd Guantanamo. Currently 200 people are kept in this camp.
2- The TIPF camp was originally established to accommodate US forces who are in charge of Camp Ashraf but after many members of the C.A.(Camp Ashraf) insisted to leave the camp, and due to the absence of legal documents/status they assigned a section of it to them. Currently in addition to the Americans there are Bulgarians in the charge of that camp as well.
3- The original group who were allocated in TIPF are those who came out of the C.A. prisons when Americans first took over the camp in 2003. Before that date the MEK leadership would send those who wanted to leave the organization either to Abu Gharib or lock them inside the camp.
4- In the past 3 years and as a result of their own perseverance as well as the actions of HR advocates 90% of the residents of TIPF have been granted the refugee status by the UNHCR. The interviews were conducted by video/phone system and no delegate actually visited this camp. The same goes for the Red Cross and likewise organizations. However, there have been visits to C. A. from many organizations including Red Cross.
5- Unlike C.A., TIPF lacks the basic amenities that is needed for day to day life. For example:
i) People have been living in the plastic tents for the past 3 years and so. Each tent has 3 occupants and no one has a moment of privacy. There is also the issue of the exposure to natural element such as heat, cold and sand storm.
ii) The quality of the food is the most basic/undesirable and the quantity is insufficient.
iii) There is no proper bathing facility in this camp and the 200 people have 2 hours a day to wash themselves with hoses that are attached to water tanks. Considering there are 3 females in this camp you can imagine how difficult this is for them.
iiii) They do not receive hygiene products or toiletries. That applies to the feminine hygiene products that causes serious problems for them.
iiiii) They did not receive any clothing items in the past year or so and only last year the received a pair of pants and shows each.
iiiiii) Smokers do not receive cigarettes and there is no money or access to a source to obtain them. This has a serious effect on those who are used to smoke.
6- There is no medical facility though there are people with serious health problems. The most they get in a good day, after days of waiting, is a soldier distributing painkillers. Even that does not happen regularly.
7- there is no access to the outside world and none of these people set foot outside of this camp from the day they were moved in.
8- There is no routine access to phone/e-mails for the detainees. There is a 15 minutes access to the phone once a month for each person and routinely they have to wait in line for 7-8 hours before they have their turn. There is no access to the internet except that they give their letters to the Americans to scan and forward. In my own experience it takes them minimum of a week to send out those letters. By delaying them they let the momentum of any incident at the camp die out before the outside world hears about them. There is also the belief that these letters are being checked before they go out, or don't for that matter.
9- There is no mail box or postal address hence no connection to family members back home who do not have access to computers.
10- The Americans have their own prisons including solitary cells. Currently there are two people, who tried to escape, in the solitary confinement.
11- The insult and beating by Americans are an ordinary issue in this camp. They claim that since U.S., or for that matter Iraq, are not a signatory to the 1951 4th convention they are not obliged to follow the codes.
They claim that only the law of war zone applies. In addition to all this and after they put a violent end to the peaceful sit-in strike by the residents of TIPF they have imposed Martial Laws and the life condition became even more intolerable.
12- In the recent attack on the residents by the Americans they broke the hand of Hussein Blujani but medical staff, though acknowledged the beatings, were not able to provide the required attention. He is still in pain and urgent need of professional help.
13- The ban on all kind of visits from outside world makes it very difficult for these people to express their concerns and explain their situation to the international organizations who may be able to help them. This becomes more problematic when compared with the freedom of the commanders in charge of C.A. and
all they have access to through money and connection with the outside world.
14- The level of desperation and depression is so high among the TIPF residents that there are occasional attempt of suicides which is being monitored by the others and so far they were under control.
15- Since the 2 camps are adjacent, there are constant attempts of destroying the Morales of the people in TIPF by spreading rumors of them being handed over to the IRI agents and so on.
16- The Americans use all kind of threats and punishments against the residents of TIPF in order to keep them under control and also prevent more people to join in from the main camp. shutting off the water and cutting electricity, as well as physical assault, is a common practice in the camp. Though they keep denying it who should believe those who created the Abu Gharib situation.
This list can go on forever but the bottom line is that these people need to come out of that prison. There is no logic in keeping part of this organization inside an unsafe country in prison while labeled as "Terrorists" and at the same time host the majority of the members of the same organization, including their leadership, in the Western countries with total freedom to lobby their agendas and live a safe and free life.
The people in TIPF and ultimately Ashraf are kept in a very inhuman condition that is bellow any imaginable standard. Their rights and dignities as well as their physical and psychological well being is violated every second. Since UNHCR have been involved with their cases and accepted them as qualified for the refugee statues they should try to move them out of that TIPF/Iraq immediately.
Considering the efforts of the Iranian government agents to make deals to take these devastated people back to Iran and knowing the extension of abuse and violation of human Rights in Iran we should agree that any delay could result in a human catastrophe.
In case you need further information regarding this matter please email your question to:
Niaz Salimi [NSalimi@standardparking.com]