New York

15 February 2012

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Camp Ashraf

The Secretary-General continues to closely follow the situation in Camp Ashraf. Over the past few months, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), under the leadership of his Special Representative, Martin Kobler, and in close cooperation with UNHCR, the European Union, the United States and other interested Member States, has been tirelessly working as an impartial facilitator to promote a peaceful resolution of this issue, within the framework of UNAMI’s humanitarian mandate.

At the request of the Secretary-General, the Government of Iraq extended its deadline to close Camp Ashraf from 31 December 2011 to 30 April 2012. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 25 December 2011 between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq has laid the foundation for a peaceful and durable solution, respecting both the sovereignty of Iraq and meeting Iraq’s international humanitarian and human rights obligations.

The Secretary-General acknowledges the efforts of the Government of Iraq to prepare the temporary transit location to host the residents and allow UNHCR to undertake refugee status determination. On 31 January 2012, UNHCR confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at the temporary transit location are in accordance with the international humanitarian standards stipulated in the MoU.

The Secretary-General believes that the time has come to start the relocation process without further delay. He urges the Iraqi authorities and the residents of Camp Ashraf to continue to cooperate and complete the process in a peaceful manner. The Secretary-General reiterates that the Government of Iraq bears the primary responsibility for the security and the welfare of the residents of Camp Ashraf. At the same time, the residents of Camp Ashraf also bear a responsibility to abide by the laws of Iraq. Any provocation or violence must be avoided and would be unacceptable.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call to Member States to contribute to a durable solution by demonstrating their readiness to accept eligible residents of Camp Ashraf who wish to resettle in third countries.

The Secretary-General stresses that the United Nations remains strongly committed to continue to do its utmost to facilitate a peaceful and durable solution.