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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf

Tahar Boumedra – UK Parliament On Martin Kobler's Conduct

Now, as a witness for those who probably didn’t hear me before, I was the Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office in Iraq and I was also the advisor of the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Kobler. In that capacity I was taking the lead on the Ashraf file and let me tell you I’m not going to breech anymore the rules of confidentiality of the United Nations. The documents are already in the public domain.


This report that was published in the Sunday Telegraph of the UNHCR that reads in parts that from a technical point of view UNHCR cannot certify and/or verify that the location, meaning Camp Liberty, meets humanitarian standards according to many existing standard books and it meant that UNHCR have book Sphere, the W.H.O etc. This is a document that I witness. It was done by a person who was hired by your tax money. He was hired, he’s worked in Adisababa  in Ethiopia, he was brought to Baghdad with your tax money. And he was suppose to assess the situation on the ground and certify or otherwise, that Camp Liberty, whether Camp Liberty meets or doesn’t meet the international standards.

Now we commissioned him in December he arrived he worked for two weeks. He visited with me Camp Liberty and previously I had so many visits and I had already reported that Camp Liberty does not meet the international standards. First of all the whole question put to the expert was a misleading question. It was whether Camp Liberty could be comparable to refugee camps in Ethiopia. This is absolutely out of order. It’s a question of a population living in the highly organised city of Ashraf, being evicted and taken to a former military base that has been completely vandalised and looted.

Now I said to the UNAMI leadership that this is unacceptable, yet to prove that i’m wrong they brought the expert. The expert was brought in order to certify and nothing else. He was told from the day he arrived you are here to certify. I went with him to Camp Liberty, he saw things, he reported and he reported that he cannot certify. Kobler was outraged! He said to him we want you to certify and he refused. After the meeting 4:00 Oclock, on the 18th December 2012, after the meeting in the SRSG’s Office I moved with the expert shelter Martin Zerek from Switzerland, we moved to my office where he collapsed, he collapsed because of the pressure, and  he had a nervous breakdown and yet he did not certify. A week later Kobler decided to certify.

So you saw his press release on 31st January 2012 where he said the United Nations High Commissionaire for Refugees and United Human Rights Office have now confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at Camp Liberty are in accordance with international humanitarian standards stipulated in the MOU. This is very interesting reference to the MOU instead of the UNHCR handbooks. What is stipulated in the MOU, the clause 7 in the MOU said that Iraq will not recognise any outcome of the work of the UNHCR. So those who read carefully, who know also the background of those document of Kobler, they will understand that it is again, once again misleading the United Nations and misleading the international community.

I’m really surprised that the United Nations is keeping quiet despite my repeated alarms, my repeated warnings, I said that in the U.S Congress, I said it in this House and yet nothing has been done to at least verify what I’m saying. At least an independent commission of enquiry looks at these two documents. This is the expert shelter documents and this is the UNAMI documents. Let somebody look at them and hold whoever is misleading the international community accountable. I thank you very much.