“The United States will continue to stand with those who struggle to assert their fundamental humanity. It is essential that these brave people know that the international community supports them, just as it is essential that human rights abusers in Damascus and Tehran know that we are watching them. Until such time as they are held accountable by domestic authorities, it is our responsibility to hold them accountable at the international level,”(Testimony of Jeffrey D. Feltman , Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia Washington, DC July 27, 2011.)
Writing the above statements on stacks of papers and reading them aloud to pose as a strong advocate of human rights is one thing, while sending the State Department’s Field Operator into negotiations with Iranian political dissidents in Camp Ashraf, opposing the Mullahs regime in Iran, and asking them to choose between dying or giving up their beliefs and being dispersed as individuals without any organizational cohesion, is another thing.
A few days earlier on July 23rd, the New York Times quoted Ambassador Lawrence E. Butler, the American diplomat, as saying, “The Americans have offered a plan in which the group’s members would vacate this camp, which during Mr. Hussein’s tenure served as a military base, and relocate to another site in Iraq, where they would disband, an essential step before the United Nations would recognize the members as refugees. To the outside world, you look like a paramilitary organization.”
The organizational structure of any political institution is the most evolved means to represent the individual members’ social and political beliefs. The more savagely human rights are violated by a ruling regime, the harder this organization holds to its principals, and naturally, the more persistent it is to protect them. While MEK is recognized as the most effective opponent against mullahs in Iran, the message being conveyed by Mr. Butler to disperse this organization satisfies the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran, and indeed, it is the solution suggested by the Mullahs prior to Mr. Butler. However, it is evident that MEK would not accept the Mullah’s long term ambition, which is being carried out unwittingly by an American ambassador.
As an inseparable component of modern societies, human right’s values have evolved to endorse other social and industrial developments and policies. That in the above case the conduct of policy on the political field yields a contradictory result such as I have mentioned above, should be very alarming for high-ranking decision makers.
In the case of the residents of Camp Ashraf, the United States has signed a protection treaty with every person of the camp, and yet Iraqi’s Army under Maleki has nevertheless attacked the camp on several occasions killing as many as 50 of the residents under the watch of American forces.
It should be acknowledged that while human rights values play a vital role on the international stage to attract confidence and trust, the violation of protected rights of the Camp Ashraf residents will potentially be a distinguishing factor in the failure of future projects, and a continuous embarrassment for the United States.
It is essential that the United States fulfil its promise to protect unarmed civilians of Camp Ashraf, as well as play an active role within other international bodies, such as the United Nations, to move these residents to a safe third country in support of the EU plan. In the absence of such policy and action, the United States will be paying the price as a participator and collaborator of the violation of human rights for years to come, just as the Dutch are learning they have to pay for Srebrenica.
Mehran Amini, is a former Pilot opposing Mullahs regime in Iran who lives in Toronto, Canada and may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.