The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) condemns the recent missile attack upon Camp Liberty, a camp of Iranian exiles in north-east Baghdad and calls for immediate assistance, protection and investigation.

The Government of Iraq has repeatedly failed to meet its obligations to respect and protect the humanitarian and human rights of these Iranian people who are refugees.

In February 2015, BHRC wrote an open letter, addressed to the Secretary- General of the United Nations detailing how the government of Iraq has consistently failed to meet its obligations to respect the humanitarian and human rights of the refugees at the camp and to provide them with security and protection as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2011 with the UN United Assistance Mission for Iraq. The refugees have been targeted by numerous deadly missile attacks and the current attack appears to be part of a pattern, which is widespread and systematic.

BHRC reiterates its request to the UN that Camp Liberty be recognised as a refugee camp under the supervision of the UN High Commission for Refugees. The UN Human Rights Council already considers these refuges “persons of concern”. Urgent practical steps must now be taken by the UN and by the Iraqi Government to protect these vulnerable people. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and member of the Human Rights Council, the UK must act to hold the Iraqi authorities to account over this latest massacre.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, said:
“The carnage inflicted by the missile attack upon Camp Liberty, reported at 7.40pm local time on 29/10/15, should be condemned by the Iraqi authorities. Protection for the residents in the camp and an investigation into these crimes and others committed must be commenced immediately. The Iraqi authorities are failing in their duty under international law to protect the men, women and children in the camp. Their current silence on the killing of 23 people is deafening.”