Camp Ashraf

Press Statement
Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 16, 2012

The United States continues to pursue a peaceful, humane solution to the untenable situation at Camp Ashraf. The critical next step is the voluntary movement of the first group of 400 Ashraf residents to the new transit facility at Camp Hurriya (former Camp Liberty). The United States supports the UN’s call for the Iraqi Government and the residents of Camp Ashraf to continue to cooperate and begin this movement peacefully and without delay. Once the first group arrives at Hurriya, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) can immediately begin verification and refugee status determinations, a necessary step for Hurriya residents to safely depart Iraq.

On January 31, following successful work by the Government of Iraq, the UNHCR and UN Human Rights Office in Baghdad determined that the infrastructure and facilities at Camp Hurriya are in accordance with international humanitarian standards for refugees, as required by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United Nations and Government of Iraq last December 25. Secretary Clinton, joining European Union High Representative Ashton, has publicly supported this MOU, which fully respects the sovereignty of Iraq. The United States welcomes the Iraqi Government’s continued cooperation with the UN; urges the Iraqi government to fulfill all its responsibilities, especially the elements of the MOU that provide for the safety and security of Ashraf’s residents; and calls on the leaders at Camp Ashraf to cooperate with Iraqi authorities and the UN to make this and all further stages of the relocation successful.

The United States urges this voluntary movement to Hurriya to begin on schedule February 17. The U.S. will not walk away from the people at Camp Hurriya. We will visit Hurriya regularly and frequently, and continue to work with the UN to support their temporary relocation and subsequent peaceful and secure resettlement outside of Iraq, consistent with our respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and in accord with Iraq’s responsibilities for their humane treatment and security.

PRN: 2012/234