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Iraq: Iran

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 9 September 2009, Official Report, column 1961W, on Iraq: human rights, whether British embassy officials in Baghdad have now undertaken a further visit to Camp Ashraf; what assessment he has made of levels of human rights violations at the camp; and if he will make a statement. (296388)

We have received reports that Camp Ashraf is calm and that there have been no incidents of further violence since July's events. Officials from our embassy in Baghdad visited Camp Ashraf on 26 September 2009. They confirmed that the Iraqi police and security forces are still maintaining a presence in the camp and are co-operating peacefully with the residents. The 36 residents detained on 28 July 2009 have been returned to the camp.

Our embassy in Baghdad has received a reply from the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights to the ambassador's letter asking for an official review of July's events. The Minister confirmed that a Government committee has been set up to look into the events of 28 July 2009 and that officials from the Ministry visited the camp as well as the 36 detainees. The Minister also confirmed that the Government of Iraq would continue to deal with the residents of the camp with respect for their human rights and according to the International Declaration on Human Rights in co-operation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross and the Office of Human Rights of the UN.

As the right hon. Member may know, my hon. Friend Ivan Lewis met colleagues on the Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom on 15 October. If he is able to visit Iraq in the near future, he will raise the issues that were discussed on Camp Ashraf with the Iraqi Government at the highest levels.