Queer Voices

Iraq's Gay And Lesbian Community Being Targeted By Death Squads: Report


Alarming new reports out of Iraq suggest the nation's gay and lesbian population is being targeted by death squads

As the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News is reporting, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) cites Iraqi human rights activists who claim an unidentified group posted death threats against “adulterous individuals” in the predominately Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and Basra, two of Iraq’s major cities.

The activists said the postings "listed the names and ages of the targeted people, told them that they had four days to stop their behavior, or face the wrath of God in a punishment to be carried out by the Mujahedin," according to the report. At present, nearly 40 Iraqis perceived to be gay or lesbian have reportedly been kidnapped, tortured and murdered since early February when the postings went up.

"Today the government of Iraq represents a fully sovereign and democratic country," IGLHRC's executive director Carl Alan Johnson said in a statement. "As such, it must protect all of its citizens including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from hate-filled violence and death at the hands of armed militias. Vigilantes who perpetuate the targeted killing of those perceived to be gay or lesbian must not be tolerated in a new Iraq. We have seen these atrocities before."

An online statement from the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, together with Iraq LGBT, calls for “all freedom-lovers of the world, the women’s and human rights organization and governments in the advanced world” to pressure the Iraqi government to protect its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens, according to SheWired.

"The Islamic militias in Iraq believe that the religious family should consist of a male husband and a female wife, and is the cornerstone of building a pious Islamic society," that statement reads. "Such an institution is handed to the males to rule and control. Under such an institution, they deny the right-to-life, or rather they command a death sentence against all who do not fit under the religious description of a family"

As Canadian news site Xtra notes, the disturbing news on the eve of a United Nations panel on LGBT rights to be held in Geneva March 7. This will reportedly be the first time the UN's Human Rights Council focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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