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Pillay condemns Iraqi operation that led to 34 deaths, calls for inquiry

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GENEVA – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday condemned a lethal Iraqi military operation in a camp housing an Iranian exile group that left at least 34 people dead and dozens injured, said there must be an independent inquiry, and called on governments to consider resettlement to third countries as a matter of urgency.

“Full details of what exactly happened on the morning of 8 April are still only beginning to emerge,” Pillay said. “But it now seems certain that at least 34 people were killed in Camp Ashraf, including seven or more women. Most were shot, and some appear to have been crushed to death, presumably by vehicles.”

Dozens more lie injured in the camp hospital and elsewhere in Iraq, she added.

“The Iraqi military were well aware of the risks attached to launching an operation like this in Ashraf,” Pillay said. “There is no possible excuse for this number of casualties. There must be a full, independent and transparent inquiry, and any person found responsible for use of excessive force should be prosecuted.”

Pillay also called on other governments to help provide a long-term solution for the residents of the camp, who belong to the group known as the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI). “Everyone had beenfearing a tragedy like this for a long time,” Pillay said. “I am well aware that this is a contentious group, with a complicated history, but leaving them to fester in Camp Ashraf was never going to be a solution. Clearly, since they are unable to go back to Iran, and are in danger in Iraq, the solution is most likely to involve moving them to third countries. I urge governments to take the necessary pragmatic and generous steps to resolve what is an untenable situation.”

OHCHR Country Page – Iraq: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/IQIndex.aspx

For more information or interviews, please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or press officers: RavinaShamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )