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Iraq: Camp Ashraf

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their commitment to train the Iraqi navy takes account of the Government of Iraq's alleged persecution of residents at Camp Ashraf; and what positive results they expect will ensue from that arrangement. [HL679]

The UK/Iraq Naval Training Agreement forms part of the transition to a broad bilateral relationship between the UK and Iraq, following the withdrawal of British troops in June. Camp Ashraf is part of a sovereign and democratic Iraq and the situation there is a domestic matter for the Government of Iraq, and is an issue for the Iraqi authorities and the camp leadership to resolve. There is no link between the two issues.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they classify the residents in Camp Ashraf as not being “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention; whether that classification takes account of their international obligations; what assessment they have made of the Spanish Central Investigative Court ruling that the residents of Camp Ashraf are “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention; and whether they recognise the right of that court to investigate the alleged attacks in July by Iraqi forces on the residents of the Camp. [HL680]

The Government view is that, with the formal end of hostilities in Iraq and the transfer of responsibility for the camp to the Iraqi authorities, any claim to protected person status has ceased to apply. This is a view also shared by the US.

The decisions of the Spanish National High Court are a domestic matter for Spain. It is for the Spanish to judge how they interpret their adherence to the international treaties and conventions to which they are signatories, including any investigations they may commission or carry out.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Iraq about the proposal to transfer residents of Camp Ashraf who have lived there for 23 years to another area of Iraq where it is suggested they are in greater danger. [HL681]

Officials from our Embassy in Baghdad have raised the issue with the Iraqi Prime Minister and other Ministers and are in regular contact with a number of organisations involved with Camp Ashraf, including the UN Assistance Mission—Iraq, International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

If the residents of Camp Ashraf are to be relocated to another part of Iraq, then it should be done humanely in a manner consistent with applicable law. That is best done through discussions between the Iraqi authorities and the camp leadership.