October 22, 2014
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry,
I am writing you to follow-up on the response I received in August to my previous letter concerning the ongoing refugee resettlement process and to discuss my continuing concerns about the residents of Camp Liberty.
As you are aware, due to the increasingly dangerous threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the resettlement process has stalled, and many fear that the people at Camp Liberty could be at grave risk if the security situation in Iraq, and especially in Baghdad, continues to deteriorate. For this reason, the Administration must move more quickly to find safe, permanent, and secure locations for Camp Liberty residents outside Iraq. I was encouraged to hear about Albania’s willingness to temporarily host some Camp Liberty residents for purposes of identifying individuals for relocation to the United States. But, I fear that this effort is insufficient to adequately safeguard the security of the remaining residents of Camp Liberty.
Given deteriorating conditions in Iraq, I believe our current efforts should focus on the 2,700 residents whose lives are at stake in Camp Liberty. Some recent events call into question the Iraqi government’s commitment to uphold its agreements to ensure the safety and well-being of these residents. In August 2014, the National Council of the Resistance of Iran accused the Iraqi government of blocking deliveries of food, fuel, and water to the Camp and making it difficult for residents to seek medical assistance. And according to statement made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Iraqi Minister of Justice stated that if Iran asked for the extradition of the residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq would deliver them. As you know, transfer to Iran could amount to a death sentence for these committed opponents of the tyrannical regime in Tehran, which has repeatedly attacked and murdered them inside of Iraq, as recently as last year. This is especially troubling in light of the appointment of Interior Minister Mohamed al-Ghabban, who has ties with Shiite militia groups that are openly hostile to residents of Camp Liberty and loyal to Iran.
Clearly, actions need to be taken to ensure the continued safety of the residents of Camp Liberty. With this in mind, I appreciate your responding promptly to the following questions:
1. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and U.S. Embassy Baghdad staff have resumed their visits to Camp Liberty. Since they have resumed their visits, has there been any concern about the living conditions at Camp Liberty? Please explain your answer.
2. Has the Administration investigated allegations that the Iraqi government has placed harmful restrictions on Camp Liberty and is denying its residents food, water, and medical aid? If so, please explain the Administration’s findings. If not, why not?
3. If the violence in Iraq continues to escalate, what further actions will be taken to ensure the safety of the residents?
4. What actions are being taken to ensure that the residents will continue to have access to food, water, and the basic necessities?
5. What is the current status of the refugee resettlement process for the residents of Camp Liberty and when will it be completed?
6. Does the Administration require renunciation of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) as a pre-condition before an individual may be considered for resettlement in the United States?
7. What is the status of U.S. efforts to settle some of the Camp Liberty residents in the United States?
Again, I urge you to continue to push for the protection of the residents of Camp Liberty and to expedite the refugee resettlement process. We made a commitment to protect these Iranian dissidents and, as we move forward, I look forward to working with you to fulfill this commitment.
United States Senator