Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2017, 11:39 GMT

Call on the Iraqi authorities and the USA

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 9 September 2008
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Call on the Iraqi authorities and the USA, 9 September 2008, available at: [accessed 25 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

FIDH calls on the Iraqi authorities and the USA to commit publicly that they will not forcibly send the People's Mujahidines back to Iran, where their security and their life would be in danger, and where they would hardly benefit from the right to a fair trial.

A decision of the Council of Ministers of Iraq dated June 17 stresses that control on the People's Mujahidines Organization of Iran (PMOI) should be handed over to the Iraqi government by the US-led Multinational Force in Iraq and the necessity to expel the PMOI members from the country. According to various media reports, this decision was followed over the last two months by repeated declarations by Iraqi officials that the PMOI should be expelled from Iraq.

"The current human rights record of the Iranian authorities is worse than ever", said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH. "In case of expulsion to the Islamic Republic of Iran, those persons would evidently face the risk of being tortured, condemned to death and even executed. A long term solution must be found to ensure their protection", she added.

The USA ratified the UN Convention against torture, which prohibits to expel, extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he/she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. Since the USA still exert a de facto authority on Camp Ashraf, by allowing the expulsion of the People's Mujahidines they would clearly violate their international obligation under that Convention.

Though Iraq and the US are not linked by the UN Convention on refugees, which clearly prohibits "refoulement" of a person to territories where his life or freedom would be threatened, they must nevertheless abide by this prohibition, which is part of international customary law. The People's Mujahidines can therefore not be expelled to Iran or to another country that might send them to Iran afterwards.

Background information:

The People's Mujahidines were for years the main opposition group to the Iranian regime. About 3500 members of the PMOI are based in Camp Ashraf in Iraq since the 1980s.They did not take part in the war of the US-led coalition against Iraq and they were disarmed by the US forces after the fall of Baghdad.

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