Armed groups in Iraq have abducted, raped, tortured and killed LGBT people with impunity in recent years, with the Iraqi government failing to take any action against them, Human Rights Watch has said.
Trigger Warning: This story has details of violence against LGBTQI people, which might be distressing to some persons. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
HRW released a new report last week which comprised interviews with 54 LGBT Iraqis, who had survived violence and discrimination perpetrated against them by “state and non-state actors”.
The report by HRW and Iraqi LGBT rights organisation IraQueer documented “eight cases of abductions, eight cases of attempted murder, four extrajudicial killings, twenty-seven cases of sexual violence—including gang rape—forty-five cases of threats to rape and kill, and forty-two cases of online targeting by individuals who identified themselves as members of armed groups against LGBT people in Iraq.”
Investigate and Prosecute, Says HRW
Laith, a 27-year-old Iraqi gay man, told HRW that his boyfriend was shot dead in front of him. Another survivor was Khadija, 31-year-old Iraqi transgender woman, who was assaulted by a group of five to six men while she was on her way home. She was beaten up, stabbed and set alight, before her neighbours rescued her.
“The cyclical nature of abuses against LGBT people, emanating from the family and stretching into every aspect of their public life, renders any “suspicion” of homosexuality or gender variance a cause for potential violence, which not only results in the death of LGBT people but makes their lives unliveable,” the report said.
The Iraqi government denied that its forces were involved in the abuses against LGBT people, the Associated Press reported.
HRW has called on Iraqi authorities to investigate the violence against LGBT people and prosecute those found responsible for the incidents. “The government should take all appropriate measures to end torture, disappearances, summary killings, and other abuses based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity, and compensate the families of all victims of unlawful killings and survivors of serious abuse,” HRW said.
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.