29 August 2011The United Nations today stressed that residents of a camp in Iraq housing Iranian exiles must be protected from deportation or expulsion, and pledged to continue helping the country’s Government to find a peaceful solution that conforms with international law. Situated in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, Camp Ashraf houses members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have sought the protection of the camp’s residents, while exploring ways of assisting the Iraqi Government to find a resolution that is consistent with the country’s sovereignty rights and international humanitarian and human rights law. An Iraqi military operation in the camp in April left more than 30 people dead and dozens of others injured. “The UN continues to advocate that Camp Ashraf residents be protected from forcible deportation, expulsion or repatriation, expulsion or repatriation contrary to the non-refoulement principle,” UNAMI said in statement. “UNAMI’s mandate includes the promotion of human rights in Iraq and the mission’s human rights office regularly assesses the situation in and around Camp Ashraf from a purely human rights and humanitarian perspective,” it added. That position has been consistently reiterated by UNAMI’s leadership, including during yesterday’s meeting between Ad Melkert, the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki as part of the UN envoy’s farewell calls on Government officials at the end of his assignment, the mission’s statement said.