Ad Melkert Special Representative of UN Secretary General from 2009 to 2011, former leader of the Dutch Labour Party
Thank you very much, dear friends. It is truly a special moment to be here with you today and I’m grateful for the opportunity to express at this truly impressive meeting my feelings of deep sympathy with a cause of freedom, the need for reconciliation and the promise of peace, democracy and social progress in Iran and the wider region of the Middle East that is in such trouble and turmoil today. And to express my strong hope that the humanitarian imperative and the cause of human rights should prevail over political considerations and calculations to which no individual should be held hostage.
Sadly, as we know, this continues to be the case for those that were uprooted in Ashraf before discovering themselves impeded to settle down in peace and safety despite promises made. I remember during my term of office as special representative of the UN Secretary General that we encountered no spirit of compromise or dialogue that seems to provide the minimum of guarantees necessary to recognize the humanitarian primacy that was and is the future of the Ashraf residents. Countless efforts we invested in bringing your families, friends and colleagues and our fellow human beings into the spotlight and onto a better place to live in a world that was inclined to look the other way. That is why I urged time and again Prime Minister Maliki to relieve the unacceptable pressure and to help look for peaceful and genuine solutions. And that is why on so many occasions I urged the diplomatic community in Baghdad to assume the global humanitarian responsibility and to open their hearts and minds to create havens that would be safer outside Iraq. I am proud that we stood our ground in that humanitarian endeavor without bending for forces that wanted to have it their way including through intimidation and bloodshed that have made so many victims, all of whom I want to respectfully commemorate today. Now some three years later I’m very concerned that Camp Liberty has turned into a place unworthy of its name’s promise. That there is no end in peace in sight, that the international community prefers silence over outcry.
On top of that, matters are now worsening all the time in the wake of the bitter confrontation and destructive polarization that are undermining stability, trust and development in Iraq and Syria, and indeed between the powers and forces that play their games disregarding the damage done and victims made among the innocents. With so many concerns mounting, who is still going to care for what was not right from the outset? With so many gross violations of human rights multiplying, who will still dare to knock at the door of justice and provide safe shelter for the Liberty residents? Yet such is our duty. And this is my appeal today. More than ever it is now necessary not to look the other way or to be overwhelmed by everything that is harming the future of countless men and women, secular or faithful, of all sects and all ethnicities in that wonderful part of the world that provided us with the heritage of millennia of culture and civilization. More than ever let’s all those who believe in the force of human power and humanitarian conviction join hands in helping to stem the violence and turning the tide in the region. And for the cause of human rights and to obey the humanitarian imperative, let us double our efforts to find solutions and set free in safety the Liberty people that should not be left alone. Thank you.
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