By Julian Pecquet - 08/22/12 11:02 PM EDT
“The United States has made clear that cooperation in the closure of Camp Ashraf, the Mujahedin-e Khalq’s (MEK's) main paramilitary base, is a key factor in determining whether the organization remains invested in its violent past or is committed to leaving that past behind,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a June statement. “We fully support the path laid out by the United Nations for the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf along with sustainable solutions for its former residents. The Camp residents and their leadership — both in Iraq and in Paris — should recognize this path as a safe and humane resolution to this situation.”
In an exclusive guest column for The Hill, however, Boumedra said he visited the new camp, a former U.S. base known as Camp Liberty, that's supposed to host the exiles and compared it to a “concentration camp” unfit to accommodate 3,400 people.
“The fundamental rights of these exiles — humane living conditions, access to justice, humanitarian necessities including medical services for the ill and wounded, and freedom from threats of physical harm — have been repeatedly denied by the Iraqi government at the direction of the prime minister’s office,” Boumedra wrote. U.N. “Special Representative Martin Kobler, unlike his predecessor, who maintained his mission’s independence and integrity even at the displeasure of Nouri al-Maliki, has enabled the prime minister’s agenda while falsifying information reported to senior U.N. leadership and the international community.”
Boumedra first aired his concerns publicly in an interview with the Washington Times on Tuesday. The paper quoted a spokesman for the U.N. Department of Political Affairs, which oversees the Iraq mission, as saying that the allegations offer a “distorted picture” of U.N. efforts “to resolve peacefully the situation of Camp Ashraf.”
Jared Kotler added that the U.N. mission under Kobler’s leadership has worked “diligently and impartially to facilitate a peaceful solution that respects the rights and concerns of both the residents and the government of Iraq,” according to the Times. “These efforts are one of the main reasons why this very tense situation has not already spilled over into further violence."