What is to be done?
Where does the UNHCR refugee allowance of individual MEK members go?
One humanitarian issue which the international humanitarian and human rights organizations unfortunately totally ignore, of course for political interests, is the situation of former MEK (Mojahedin-e Khalq,Rajavi Cult) members in Albania.
Former members and the UNHCR
According to a deal made in Geneva between the UNHCR and the MEK, the entire refugee allowances due to individual MEK members who are resident in Albania is being paid to the MEK leaders to be spent as they wish and not paid to the individual members for their personal support.
During Saddam Hussein’s era in Iraq, Massoud Rajavi used to receive per head allowances from the Iraqi government. Rajavi used to exaggerate the number of individuals in his organization in order to get more money. Even those living in Europe and America or even the dead were included in the list. Members were brought into Iraq for training sessions or meetings and their arrival was registered, but their departure was not and by doing so the numbers for claiming payments was increased.
At the present time, the Rajavi cult has included even those who have defected the organization and those living outside Albania in the list it gives to the UNHCR. In this way, it receives extra refugee payments. It also means that those who have left the organization do not receive the allowance they are entitled to. In the cult’s list, there are some who have left the cult and even gone back to Iran, but the MEK still gets their allowances. It is doubtful that the UNHCR does not know about this.
Before members were transferred to Albania from Iraq, the Rajavi cult insisted that members sign letters asking for their monthly allowance to be paid directly to the MEK instead of to them as individuals. These letters were in English, so most members are unaware of the content of what they signed. And of course, those who have subsequently separated from the MEK are also included in this scheme. Such members were intent on gaining security and freedom and wrote and signed anything so they could escape their current circumstances in Iraq.
By this trick, the Rajavi cult managed to keep control of everyone wishing to leave the organization. What can someone do in an alien country, without any facilities, no job or money and not knowing the language? To those who leave the MEK, the cult only pays half the amount available to them as refugees, which does not cover even their most basic necessities. They are forced to depend on the MEK for housing and food. The allowances of some of these dissenting members have been cut on the false pretext that they contacted their family in Iran which, according to the cult, is equal to contacting the Iranian regime.
The other trick used by the Rajavi cult, which is always used inside the organization for controlling the members, is to place spies everywhere to report the conversations and actions of the others. These individuals in Albania get more allowances than the others even though everyone is entitled to the same amount. The same thing used to be done in the TIPF in Iraq to create differences between the defectors and generate an atmosphere of distrust amongst them.
Lawfully, the UN or the UNHCR have no right to have any direct relationship with organizations. No group can be considered as refugees, in particular if it is a political organization and even worse a terrorist cult. The UN or the ICRC or any other official international organization cannot play the role of benefactor for any organization against a country which is a member of the UN. The use of US gangs today, and Saddam Hussein in Iraq in the past, created from the MEK in which the members are considered individually as refugees is unlawful and against the regulations of the UN.
The UNHCR must deal with each refugee in person. The relationship of the UNHCR with the Rajavi terrorist cult is in contradiction to the UN’s internal regulations and is not acceptable. Of course in the past, in Iraq, the UN and the UNHCR committed this breach of rules both in Ashraf garrison and in Liberty camp. Even if refugees rescind their right to receive the allowance directly and ask for it to be passed to someone else, the UNHCR should not agree to this.
At the present time, regarding the advantage given to the cult by the UN, the members and the former members are alike under the control of the cult. They are all forced to obey the demands of the cult leader.
Maryam Rajavi has told those wishing to leave the organization: “do not suppose our hands are tied here in Albania”. She has emphasized that: “here is the land of the Pentagon and we are part of the Pentagon and our power now is even greater than when we were in Iraq under Saddam Hussein”, and by saying so she wanted to prevent members from leaving the group and tried to cover up her cult’s present weaknesses.
Once again it is worth noting that withholding or reducing a refugee’s allowance by the MEK is against the law, particularly when the cult asks them to spy on others and write and sign whatever is wanted to establish the payments.
The present situation in Albania
For some time now anti-corruption activities have escalated in the country. For some months this year the parliamentary representatives of the Democratic Party refused to attend the assembly and boycotted the parliament. They demanded that the Prime Minister resign before the election since he might cheat. The parliament has appointed its speaker as the new President. He has announced that the election must go ahead but has given no guarantees to the opposition. The ambassadors of the US and western countries say that the elections, with or without the Democrats, must be held on the 18th June.
In the next few weeks some demonstrations and even street conflicts are expected in Albania since the Democrats have been ignored by the west but they have popular support and it seems there might even be violent clashes. The latest news is that the government and the opponents have reached an agreement but they did not reveal its contents. There is a possibility that they postpone the elections in order to sort things out beforehand.
One internal problem in Albania is corruption. The Albanian deputy interior minister Elona Gjebrea is an MEK lobbyist who is also devoted to the Neocons in the US. She has recently visited the UK in her role as the Albanian anti-trafficking coordinator. She was invited to the US before that and she follows US policy in this regard. Even the Albanian media is dissatisfied with her and question whether she is a deputy minister in the Albanian government or the MEK lobby, in particular when the elections are ahead.
A link to one example of protest against the deputy interior minister of Albania, who even says “I am a Mojahed-e Khalq”, can be read below.
The American paper Huffington Post has also written about Elona Gjebrea – responsible for countering slavery in Albania – giving support to Maryam Rajavi’s modern slavery. This has also been covered by the Albanian media. This article can be read in the link below.
The translation of the above mentioned article in the Albanian press can be reached in the link below.
When the Albanian government of Edi Rama agreed to host the MEK, an agreement was reached that no cost and no problem would ensue for the country and that everything would be under the supervision of the UNHCR. The agreement indicates that responsibility for all the members is with the UN and there should be no burden left on the shoulders of the people of Albania. The US promised the Albanian government that the MEK members transferred to Albania would all be under control.
What to be done?
One of the things can be done is that the former members show in different ways that they are not controlled by the cult and they are free. By doing this the promise made by the US to the Albanian government that everyone transferred into the country is under the control of the MEK and there is no need for direct involvement of Americans and Albanians, is broken. The same thing happened in Iraq and the US had to establish TIPF for the separated members with separate costs.
The former members in Albania do recognize that although the cult has taken away their UNHCR allowances, but at the same time it is very afraid of their freedom of action, particularly interviewing the press. They would even pay more if there is a chance of media coverage on these issues. Therefore, the formers can be encouraged to adopt a more active role instead of their present passive part.
The Rajavi cult has given letters to some former members stating that their allowances would be cut on the excuse that they have contact with the Iranian regime and has even published these letters in the cult’s websites. These are documents which could be used against the MEK and the UNHCR and even the Albanian government which must be held responsible for it. The Rajavi cult has exploited these individuals for their whole life and now refuses to pay them their minimum rights. The MEK should not be the intermediary for this payment.
The will of the former members is that a center under the supervision of the UNHCR and the Albanian government be established to deal with the refugees individually and not as a group. This wish must find its way into the media in the country. The former members can approach the UNHCR in Tirana and ask them why there is a breach of law and why their affairs have been left for the cult to deal with. They can give the result of their activities to the media to inform Albanian public opinion.
Any media pressure by the former members in English or Albanian on the UNHCR – which has illegally given their allowances to the MEK – and on the Albanian government, particularly the interior ministry which has become a lobby for the cult, will be useful and would have an effect on the elections.
The Rajavi terrorist cult has a pressure lever called the UN allowances, and of course the former members have an even more useful lever which is the public opinion and the special situation of the cult in Albania before the elections which can help them to gain their rights from the MEK.
Please let us know your opinions.
Sahar Family Foundation
May 22nd, 2017