Days after Iraq banned the use of the words ‘homosexuality’ and ‘gender’, the country’s Parliament is considering a new anti-LGBTQI Bill that imposes the death penalty for same-sex relations and jail for trans persons
Human Rights Watch said the proposed law threatens the lives of LGBTQI Iraqis and called on Parliament to scrap the Bill.
“Iraq’s proposed anti-LGBT law would threaten the lives of Iraqis already facing a hostile environment for LGBT people,” Rasha Younes, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch said in a blog. : “Iraqi lawmakers are sending an appalling message to LGBT people that their speech is criminal and their lives are expendable.”
Bill Looks To Jail Trans Persons
Iraq does not have laws that criminalise homosexuality, but according to HRW used its “morality laws” to prosecute LGBTQI persons.
Earlier this month, Independent MP Raad Al-Maliki introduced a private member’s bill to amend the country’s “Law on Combatting Prostitution” to criminalise homosexuality.
“If passed, the bill would punish same-sex relations with the death penalty or life in prison, punish ‘promoting homosexuality’ with a minimum of seven years in prison and a fine, and criminalise “imitating women” with up to a three-year sentence,” said HRW.
Under the bill, trans women face prison terms of between one and three years.
Iraq Bans The Words ‘Homosexuality’, ‘Gender’
The Bill follows an August 8 directive to media outlets by the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission to replace the term “homosexuality” with “sexual deviance”, and ban the use of the word “gender.”
HRW called on the Iraqi government to abandon attempts to criminalise homosexuality and scrap the anti-LGBTQI bill.
“The Iraqi government has failed to tackle discriminatory practices that underpin violence against LGBT people,” said Younes.
“Instead it has promoted anti-LGBT morality-based legislation that fuels violence and discrimination against already marginalized sexual and gender minorities. The Iraqi government should immediately abandon the proposed anti-LGBT law and end the cycle of violence and impunity against LGBT people.”