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Hunger strike for Ashraf

11 October 2013


In solidarity: the protest against the Iraqi government in London on Sunday

In solidarity: the protest against the Iraqi government in London on Sunday

HUNDREDS of people attended a rally in Trafalgar Square on Sunday to draw attention to seven former residents of Camp Ashraf, in Iraq, who have been missing since an attack on 1 September which left at least 52 dead (News, 13 September).

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) says that the seven have been taken hostage by the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government denies this. The seven are on a dry hunger strike, the NCRI says. It reports that protesters around the world, including those camped outside the US Embassy in London, have also been on a hunger strike since the September attack.

Those at the rally in London called for the governments of the UK and the US to demand publicly the release of the seven, and for the UN to station peacekeeping troops at Camp Liberty, the new home of the former residents of Ashraf.

On 12 September, Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office Minister, welcomed the "successful and peaceful transfer" to Camp Liberty, although he was "concerned by reports that a number of residents remain missing following the attack".

On 24 September, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN's human-rights office, said that he was "gravely concerned about allegations" of kidnapping.

More than 3000 residents, many supporters of People's Mujahedin Organisation of Iran, now live at Camp Liberty. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is carrying out a process to determine their refugee status, and resettle them outside the country.

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