Archive for the ‘Irak’ Category

Sami, one of the perhaps thousands of gay men recently attacked in Iraq, in an undisclosed location abroad. (Photo: Lynsey Addario/VII Network)

Thanks and appreciation to every individual and organisation that has supported and raised awareness of the plight of Iraqi LGBTs, and who has lobbied politicians and news editors to get stories on this issue published, like this excellent piece in the New York Times:

http://nymag.com/news/features/59695/

But I would also like to remind everyone that despite all the criticisms thrown at him, it was Ali Hili of Iraqi LGBT who first alerted the world to the organised killing of LGBT people in Iraq – way back in 2005. For a long time, he was a lone voice.

Although people have criticised Ali for various failings, he nevertheless deserves a great deal of praise for his pioneering, ground-breaking and life-saving work.

It is wonderful that Time Magazine, CNN and the New York Times have now reported the terrorisation of our LGBT sisters and brothers in Iraq, and that Human Rights Watch and other human rights organisations have produced some very powerful and valuable reports on the subject. Our thanks to them.

While I would not wish to detract one iota from the contributions of others, I think it is also important that we should show due generosity and humility by acknowledging that it was Ali Hili and Iraqi LGBT who first bought this issue to public consciousness. They deserve our gratitude.

Solidarity!

Peter Tatchell

New York Times: The Hunted By Matt McAllester

From Baghdad—frightening reports of gay pogroms, where homosexual men are targeted, tortured, slayed. From New York—a scurry to find those same men before they are killed, and shepherd them to safety.

Published Oct 4, 2009.

On a bright afternoon in late March, an 18-year-old named Fadi stood in a friend’s clothing store in Baghdad checking out the new merchandise. A worker in a neighboring store walked into the boutique with a newspaper in his hand and shared a story he had just read. It was about “sexual deviants,” he said. Gay men’s rectums had been glued shut, and they had been force-fed laxatives and water until their insides exploded. They had been found dead on the street.

That evening Fadi met up with his three closest friends —Ahmed, Mazen, and Namir— in a coffee shop called the Shisha café in the Karada district of Baghdad. Karada is a mixed Shia-Christian neighborhood that has a more relaxed, cosmopolitan feel than many parts of the Iraqi capital. Fadi and his friends had been meeting there nearly every evening for a year, Fadi coming from his job cleaning toilets for Americans in the Green Zone and the three others from college. The coffee shop was relatively new and attracted a young crowd. The walls were colored in solid blocks of orange, green, and blue, the glass-topped tables painted red and black. It was the closest thing to hip that Baghdad had to offer. For Fadi and his three friends, who secretly referred to themselves as the 4 Cats, after a Pussycat Dolls–like Lebanese group, the Shisha was a refuge from the hostile, often violent anti-gay climate that they had grown up with in Iraq.

Fadi has a warm, irrepressible laugh; his eyes narrow under thick black eyebrows whenever someone tells a joke. He told his friends about the newspaper story, but insisted it couldn’t be true.

“They’re doing this to frighten us,” he said.

In recent weeks, with rumors of gay death squads and torture on the rise, the four friends had lowered their profile. They no longer went to the Shisha every night. “We’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Fadi said, on the last night they met there.

On April 4, at about 8 p.m., Fadi’s cell phone rang. It was Mazen’s brother.

“Mazen and Namir have been killed,” he said.

The maimed bodies of the two friends had been discovered together in the vast Shia district of Baghdad named Sadr City, which is a stronghold of the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shia militia. Mazen had had his pectoral muscles cut off. There were two drill holes in Namir’s left leg, below the knee. Both had been shot in the head, apparently from close range.

“Two young men were killed on Thursday,” an unnamed Sadr City official told the Reuters news agency in a story published that same day. “They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor.” In the same story, Reuters cited a police source as saying that the bodies of four other gay men had been found in Sadr City on March 25 with signs on their chests reading PERVERT.

Fadi called Ahmed. They spoke for an hour. They were devastated by their friends’ deaths, of course. They were also terrified. Under torture, Mazen and Namir may have given up their names…

Read Full Article

Advertisements

HRW-Report-Iraq

New HRW Report :
“They Want Us Exterminated”
Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq

August 17, 2009

This 67-page report documents a wide-reaching campaign of extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and torture of gay men that began in early 2009. The killings began in the vast Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, and spread to many cities across Iraq. Mahdi Army spokesmen have promoted fears about the “third sex” and the “feminization” of Iraq men, and suggested that militia action was the remedy. Some people told Human Rights Watch that Iraqi security forces have colluded and joined in the killing.

Iraq: Stop Killings for Homosexual Conduct
No Protection by Authorities from Widening Murder Campaign
August 17, 2009

Related Materials:
“They Want Us Exterminated”

Iraq’s leaders are supposed to defend all Iraqis, not abandon them to armed agents of hate. Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi.
Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch

(Beirut) – Iraqi militias are carrying out a spreading campaign of torture and murder against men suspected of homosexual conduct, or of not being “manly” enough, and Iraq authorities have done nothing to stop the killing, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch called on Iraq’s government to act urgently to rein in militia abuses, punish the perpetrators, and stop a new resurgence of violence that threatens all Iraqis’ safety.

“Iraq’s leaders are supposed to defend all Iraqis, not abandon them to armed agents of hate,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi.”

Silence and stigma surrounding sexuality and gender in Iraq make placing a precise figure on the number killed almost impossible, but indications are that hundreds of men may have died.

One man told Human Rights Watch that militiamen kidnapped and killed his partner of 10 years in April: “It was late one night, and they came to take my partner at his parents’ home. Four armed men barged into the house, masked and wearing black. They asked for him by name; they insulted him and took him in front of his parents. … He was found in the neighborhood the day after. They had thrown his corpse in the garbage. His genitals were cut off and a piece of his throat was ripped out.”

The killers invade homes and pick people up in the street, witnesses and survivors said, interrogating them before murdering them to extract names of other potential victims. They practice grotesque tortures, including gluing men’s anuses shut as punishment. Human Rights Watch spoke to doctors who said that hospitals and morgues have received dozens of mutilated bodies, living and dead.

“Murder and torture are no way to enforce morality,” said Rasha Moumneh, Middle East and North Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “These killings point to the continuing and lethal failure of Iraq’s post-occupation authorities to establish the rule of law and protect their citizens.”

Consensual homosexual conduct between adults is not a criminal offense under Iraqi law. Although many militias in Iraq claim to be enforcers of Islamic law, the Human Rights Watch report also shows how the killings – committed without evidence or trial, on the basis of prejudice and whim – violate standards in Sharia law for legality, proof, and privacy.

International human rights law forbids all forms of torture and inhuman treatment and guarantees the right to life, including the right to effective state protection. In its 1994 decision in the landmark case of Toonen v. Australia, the United Nations Human Rights Committee held that the protections against unequal treatment in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) extend to sexual orientation as a protected status.

The report also documents how fears that Iraqi men’s masculinity is under threat propel the killings as much as prejudices about sexuality. Many men told Human Rights Watch that their parents or brothers have threatened them with honor killings because their “unmanly” behavior threatens the reputation of the family or tribe. In a provision left over from the Saddam Hussein era, Iraqi law allows mitigated penalties for crimes committed “with honorable motives.” This exception encourages gender-based violence.

Many Iraqis who fear being attacked have sought safety in surrounding countries, but those countries are no safe haven, the report says. Consensual homosexual conduct is criminalized in most of these countries, and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity fosters violence and discrimination in all of them. Human Rights Watch urges the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as governments that accept Iraqi refugees, to offer rapid resettlement to these endangered people.

Accounts from the report (all names are aliases, to protect the speakers)

“[The killers’] measuring rod to judge people is who they have sex with. It is not by their conscience, it is not by their conduct or their values, it is who they have sex with. The cheapest thing in Iraq is a human being, a human life. It is cheaper than an animal, than a pair of used-up batteries you buy on the street. Especially people like us. … I can’t believe I’m here talking to you because it’s all just been repressed, repressed, repressed. For years it’s been like that – if I walk down the street, I would feel everyone pointing at me. I feel as if I’m dying all the time. And now this, in the last month – I don’t understand what we did to deserve this. They want us exterminated. All the violence and all this hatred: the people who are suffering from it don’t deserve it.”
– Hamid, in Iraq, April 24, 2009

“We’ve been hearing about this, about gay men being killed, for more than a month. It’s like background noise now, every day. The stories started spreading in February about this campaign against gay people by the Mahdi Army: everyone was talking about it, I was hearing about it from my straight friends. In a coffee shop in Karada, on the streets in Harithiya [Baghdad neighborhoods], they were talking about it. I didn’t worry at first. My friends and I, we look extremely masculine, there is nothing visibly “feminine” about us. None of us ever, ever believed this would happen to us. But then at the end of March we heard on the street that 30 men had been killed already.”
– Idris, in Iraq, April 24, 2009

“They did many things to us, the Mahdi Army. … They kidnapped [my partner] for six days. He will not talk about what they did to him. There were bruises on his side as if he was dragged on the street. They did things to him he can’t describe, even to me. They wrote in the dust on the windshield of his car: ‘Death to the people of Lot and to collaborators.’ They sent us veiled threats in text messages: ‘You are on the list.’ They sent him a piece of paper in an envelope, to his home: there were three bullets wrapped in plastic, of different size. The note said, ‘Which one do you want in your heart?’ … I want to be a regular person, lead a normal life, walk around the city, drink coffee on the street. But because of who I am, I can’t. There is no way out.”
– Mohammad, in Iraq, April 21, 2009

“At 10 a.m., [Ministry of Interior officers] cuffed my hands behind my back. Then they tied a rope around my legs, and they hung me upside down from a hook in the ceiling, from morning till sunset. I passed out. I was stripped down to my underwear while I hung upside down. They cut me down that night, but they gave me no water or food. Next day, they told me to put my clothes back on and they took me to the investigating officer. He said, ‘You like that? We’re going to do that to you more and more, until you confess.’ Confess to what? I asked. ‘To the work you do, to the organization you belong to, and that you are a tanta’ [queen]. For days, there were severe beatings, and constant humiliation and insults. … It was the same form of abuse every day. They beat me all over my body; when they had me hanging upside down, they used me like a punching bag. … They used electric prods all over my body. Then they raped me. Over three days. The first day, 15 of them raped me; the second day, six; the third day, four. There was a bag on my head every time.”
Nuri, on April 15 and 27, 2009

HRW Page Link

See Also:

Video: San Francisco Leaders Want End to Torture and Murder of GLBT Iraqis by Clinton Fein

Original Article: SF Gays to Pelosi: Condemn Torture of LGBT Iraqis by Michael Petrelis

My good friend and political artist Clinton Fein has made a terrific video of the May 17 solidarity rally and fundraiser for gay Iraqis at Harvey Milk Plaza, in Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district.

For me, the most relevant and emotionally moving speaker was community organizer Gary Virginia, who demanded our member of Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, speak out against the torture of LGBT Iraqis.

It’s unacceptable that Pelosi, who represents the most energized gay political district in the nation, is getting a free ride about the abuse and gruesome murder of gay Iraqis from Democratic gay leaders at HRC, NGLTF and GLAAD, at a time when she is mired in controversy over torture.

I’m proud to associate with Virginia and other San Francisco voters who want our Congressmember to use her voice to bring attention to the plight of the gay community in Iraq.

After you watch Fein’s video, give Pelosi’s speaker office in DC a call and leave a message, demanding that she forcefully condemn the torture and killing of LGBT Iraqis. Let Pelosi hear your voice on behalf of justice for our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Her number is 1-202-225-0100.

Full Article

See Also:

Gays Without Borders

3416444769_b93ceb52cb

They kill people like us, says gay Iraqi

Posted: Monday, May 04, 2009 1:04 PM

By Cheryll Simpson, NBC News Producer

BAGHDAD – Widespread violence is down across Baghdad, but not for one minority group.

Iraq’s gay population is being targeted by militia groups in a wave of killings that has claimed the lives of up to 25 young men and boys in the past month.

“They know I am gay. I don’t know if I am going to be killed, this is up to God,” said Moyad, a 38-year-old Baghdad resident who would not give his last name out of fear for his safety.

Visibly frightened, he said that he has many friends who have been sadistically tortured, some even murdered. “They are sticking glue up their anuses; some hospitals refuse to treat them. Is it a war waged against homosexuals?” he asked.

International outrage

Most of the attacks have happened in Baghdad’s Shia neighborhoods, and many believe that religious leaders have used Friday sermons in Sadr City as a platform to incite hatred and violence toward homosexuals. The bodies of three gay men were reported to have been found in Sadr City in April with pieces of paper bearing the word for “pervert” attached to them.

Posters and leaflets have been distributed in the Baghdad neighborhoods of al-Shola, al-Hurya and Sadr City with orders to, “Cleanse Iraq from the crime of homosexuality.”

Baghdad police didn’t respond to inquiries from NBC News about the attacks, but the surge in violence has gained attention by the international media.

In a letter to Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki in April, Amnesty International called for “urgent and concerted action” to stop the killings of men because of their sexual orientation.

Amnesty International expressed concern at the government’s failure to “publicly condemn the killings.” It urged the government to make sure that the killings are “promptly and effectively investigated, and to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice.” The letter also condemned statements from one senior police officer that,”appear to condone or even encourage the targeting of members of the gay community in Baghdad.” An Amnesty spokeswoman said there had not yet been a reply from Iraqi authorities.

Campaign of fear

Moyad described a recent crusade by vigilantes in which young men were tortured with hoses and shot.”For some time I never went out of my house,” he said. “I also had the feeling that they would break in and get me.”

Noor, a 24-year-old lesbian who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it is easier for her to conceal her sexuality, but she is still frightened about the possibility of being exposed – especially knowing that some of her friends were killed by the militias. “They were burned in Kadhimiya, Hurriya Al-Olaa, Hurriya Al-Thaniya, Dolaai and Dabaash.”

Moyad believes that many have been killed by their own families in an effort to preserve their honor. “My friend Ahmed, from the neighborhood of Zafaraniya, was killed by his family for looking like a female. Those commandos tell the families to kill them or else they will kill them. I expect that my own brother might lead those guys to kill me.”

‘Sense of panic’

Ali Hili is a gay Iraqi who fled to London and founded the fledgling U.K.-based organization,”Iraqi LGBT,” a human rights organization that supports Iraqi lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

“There is a sense of panic among the youth for fear of retaliation against anyone who is suspected of having a history of being effeminate, anyone with a homosexual past, if you act or dress like one or even have a western hairstyle,” said Hili. He said that attacks by the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia, and its supporters have increased and that death warrants have been sent to individuals.

Hili’s organization tries to help gays in Iraq who have come under attack by providing food, electricity, protection, medication and clothing at a safe house in Baghdad. The group also provides phone cards for people to report incidents of harassment, in order to document the situation, often at great risk to their safety in Iraq.

“Many people have nothing but the clothes on their backs, and sometimes not even that, no exaggeration at all here,” Hili said of people seeking refuge at the safe house. His organization also tries to help people seeking asylum in other countries.

Moyad said that unfortunately things have actually gotten worse than it was during Saddam’s reign things. “I was imprisoned because I was gay, but there was a court, a trial, and the judge let me loose at the time; now they kill people like us.”

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/05/04/1921277.aspx

Ali Hili – Iraqi Lgbt

Website : http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

See also:

Iraq: Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of LGBT People

The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Iraqi government has an obligation to protect the right to life (Article 6) and the right of all its citizens “to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 7).

On Friday April 17, IGLHRC sent a letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, asking her to take specific measures to protect LGBT Iraqis. On April 8, IGLHRC and Human Rights Watch submitted an urgent appeal to the Special Procedures of the United Nations to ask for an investigation. In 2006, after a wave of violence targeted LGBT Iraqis, IGLHRC sent a letter to then Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, requesting that the U.S. government conduct a thorough investigation of the violations.

IGLHRC will continue to monitor the situation and gather more evidence about the recent wave of violence against Iraqi LGBT people. You can follow and discuss this story on IGLHRC’s blog.

Bodies of 7 Gays in Baghdad Morgue

http://www.alarabiya.net/save_print.php?print=1&cont_id=71071

by Hayyan Neyuf -Dubai/ Ali Al-Iraqi – Baghdad

A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using “Iranian gum.” … Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that, “Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.”

According to her, the new substance “is known as the American gum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.”

According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.”

63 People Tortured

According to Hassan from the Iraqi LGBT group in London, attacks against homosexuals have been abundant in Shiite neighborhoods, especially poor regions and remote areas such as the southern provinces and the Hurriya, Sho’la and Sadr neighborhoods in Baghdad. So far, 63 members of the group have been tortured.

Hassan also confirmed the use of “Iranian Gum” in the torture process, adding that, “I talked to many young men who have been tortured by this method. They went to the hospital for treatment and in some cases they were refused treatment.” According to Hassan, “all religious leaders, whether Sunni or Shiite, call for the eradication of homosexuals, but the Shiites are the ones who are most involved in these attacks.”

Vigilante Groups

According to newspaper reports from local news sources in Sadr City in East Baghdad, a previously unknown group “Ahl al-Haq (the followers of Truth) have stepped up the persecution of Iraqi homosexuals after the murder of a number of them in the past few days. The news sources say that, “3 lists, each with the name of 10 gay men were circulated in Sadr City for a few hours.” The lists included a quote saying, “You, prostitutes, we will punish you!”

7 Bodies in Bagdad’s Morgue

The Alarabiya reporter, visited the Baghdad Morgue in Bab-al-Moazaam in central Baghdad, where the Neman Mohsen, the medical examiner, confirmed that they have the bodies of 7 homosexuals in the morgue. He said, “We were not able to identify the culprits who dumped the bodies in front of the morgue and fled, without being seen.”

He explained, “There were bodies with gunshots in the head and chest and the rest of the body without any obvious causes of death.”

Khalaf Abdul Hussein, from the Legal Affairs Office at the Police Station in Sadr City, told Alarabiya: “the extra-judicial killing of any citizen is a crime punishable by law. No one has the right to become a substitute for judicial authorities or executive authorities, and if there are complaints against individuals, there is law and there are police and there are government agencies. No group or class has the authority to punish people instead of the state.”

He said: “We, like everyone else, have heard rumors about these cases, but we can’t comment on something that is not evidence, and there is no evidence for these crimes either in terms of motivation or in terms of the nature of the criminal acts. We do not know the motives of the killers and we do not know the intentions of those killed.”

“Son of a Bitch”

Officials and tribal leaders in Sadr City are reluctant to provide details about the murder of homosexuals. However, Sheikh Hashem Mokhani, one of the tribal elders in the city, said: “The people refer to these sexual perverts as ‘son of a bitch,’ but most of the victims were not residents of Sadr City. They used to hang out in a [gay] cafe, on Palestine Street in Baghdad.”

Sheik Salal Al-kaabi, one of the elders of Sadr City says: “we have heard that the tribes, to whom these perverts belonged, declared their lives worthless and allowed their death, but we have also heard that an organization calling itself the followers of Truth (ahl-al Haq) are reponsible for the murders and have written on the chest of victim a sentence that reads: This is the fate of a son of a bitch.”

Original Article

See also:

Iraq: IGLHRC Asks the Iraqi Government to Protect LGBT People
04/17/2009

3-6

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has sent a letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Salim, requesting that she takes specific measures to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis and prevent hate crimes against those perceived to be gay. IGLHRC’s letter, written to coincide with Ms. Salim’s visit to Washington D.C., responds to a recent wave of violent crimes against Iraqi citizens perceived to be gay.

Just hours before IGLHRC sent its letter, an Iraqi group identified as “Fazilat” (Virtue) posted flyers threatening homosexuals with death on walls in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. The flyers, distributed on April 17, list the names of some of the would-be targets and states that “we will soon punish all you perverts.” Residents of Sadr City say the people who were outed in these fliers have gone into hiding.

Previous acts of anti-LGBT violence in Iraq include the April 2, 2009 murder of two men in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. An unidentified local official described these men as “sexual perverts (Monharef Jensiyan) who were killed by members of their tribe to restore their family honor.” Prior to death, the men’s relatives had disowned them and they were also thrown out of their tribes. So far no one has claimed their bodies and the government has not launched an investigation into the case. These murders took place one week after Iraqi authorities unearthed the bodies of 4 men killed by gunshots in Sadr City on March 25. The words “pervert” and “son of a bitch” (jaravah: a derogatory term to describe homosexuals) were written on the chests of the victims. As part of this new wave of violence, a coffee house in Sadr City that was frequented by gay men has also been burnt down.

Apart from these cases, IGLHRC has also received reports of the arrest, torture, and murder of several members of the group Iraqi LGBT amid a nationwide government crackdown on gay-friendly businesses across Iraq. Several other reports indicate dozens of extra-judicial murders of LGBT people across Iraq during the past few months.

In response to these violent murders, on April 8, 2009, IGLHRC and Human Rights Watch submitted an urgent appeal to the Special Procedures of the United Nations to ask for an investigation.

IGLHRC is also working closely with the D.C.-based Council on Global Equality to bring the plight of gay and lesbian Iraqis to the attention of U.S. government officials, who will be meeting with the Iraqi minister next week.

No Action is requested at this time. Below is IGLHRC’s letter to the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights.

April 17, 2009

Her Excellency Wijdan Mikhail Salim
Minister of Human Rights
Unios (Naqabat) St. Mansour
Baghdad, Iraq
Fax: +964-1-5372017
minister@humanrights.gov.iq
info@humanrights.gov.iq

Your Excellency:

On behalf of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), I am writing to express deep concern about an alarming increase in violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity in Iraq over the past few weeks. Iraqi officials have recently confirmed the murder of six men whose bodies were found in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. The Iraqi authorities unearthed the bodies of 4 men killed by gunshots on March 25, 2009. On April 2, Iraqi police found the bodies of two additional men who were reportedly killed by members of their tribe to restore their family honor. Media reports suggest that vigilantes killed these men because of their perceived sexual orientation.

This wave of violence coincides with an arson attack against a Sadr City coffee house that was popular among gay men. IGLHRC has also received reports of official persecution—abduction, torture, trial without due process, and execution—of Iraqis who the government believes to have been part of a gay organization. In addition, IGLHRC learned today that an Iraqi group known as “Fazilat” (Virtue) has circulated flyers around Sadr City threatening gay men with death and listing the names of their potential targets.

As a signatory to international treaties that assure the right to privacy, liberty and security of the person and the right to non-discrimination, it is Iraq’s obligation to protect its citizens and ensure that human rights violations are fully investigated and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

The new Iraqi Constitution protects the equality of all citizens before the law (Article 14), guarantees everyone’s right to enjoy “life, freedom, and security” (Article 15) and reiterates the right of all Iraqis to live “in freedom and with dignity” (Article 35). The mob murder of men perceived to be gay also violates the Iraqi Constitution, since the law protects the private lives of all citizens (Article 17), makes any kind of violence against family members a crime (Article 29) and prohibits extra-judicial punishment (Article 19, Section 2). Despite the legal obligations of the Iraqi government to protect all citizens, crimes committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis and those believed to be homosexual are not properly investigated or prosecuted.

In accordance with Article 2 of the Charter of the Ministry of Human Rights (CMHR), which was passed by the Iraqi parliament as law number 60 in 2006, it is the responsibility of your ministry to “promote …and secure the implementation of…. the culture of human rights and personal freedom in accordance with international treaties that Iraq has entered… and prevent its violation.”

To fulfill this mandate, we request that your ministry take the following steps:

* Actively and thoroughly document cases of human rights abuses against LGBT people and include this information in your annual report on the status of human rights in Iraq for submission to parliament and the cabinet. (Article 3, Section 2, CMHR)

* Prepare a comprehensive report on state, community and family violence based on sexual orientation with concrete recommendations on how to stop such human rights violations. (Article 3, Section 3, CMHR)

* Launch an investigation into the Iraqi legal system—including police, judiciary, and penal systems—to assure the full enjoyment of human rights principles by all people, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

* Promote a culture of tolerance and respect for the rights of LGBT people at the tribal level and within the larger Iraqi society. (Article 3, Section 11, CMHR)

IGLHRC is ready to support the efforts of the Iraqi government to secure the rights of its same-sex practicing citizens through training, consultation and information exchange.

We trust that you will give this matter due attention.

Yours sincerely,

Cary Alan Johnson
Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

See also:

See also:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 09, 2009

Contact : Brendan Fay

(917) 402-3134

Walter Armstrong

(212) 674-6168

Iraqi Murder Campaign of Gays Spurs Vigil, Rally In NY
Gay and Human Rights Groups To Demand Immediate Investigation and Diplomatic Intervention from Pres. Obama, Sec. Clinton., Other Officials On ‘Sexual Cleansing’
(NYC) LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and human rights groups, increasingly alarmed about reports by the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters on the continuing harassment and murder=2 0of gay men, including 6 last week, and of the fate of an estimated 128 men on death row (many convicted for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality), will hold a protest and vigil outside the Iraq Mission, 14 E. 79th Street in Manhattan, Friday, April 10, 2009 at 12 Noon.
Organizers of Friday’s protest point to the staggering number of gay men killed: over 400 since 2003, and over 85 since 2005. Men have been identified in and around Baghdad’s Shiit slum known as Sadr City with bullet-ridden bodies, some with broken arms and legs, and with the words “pervert” or “puppy” (a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to gays) written on their chests. In an act of intimidation, a café frequented by lgbt citizens of Sadr City has been firebombed.
Reports on the root cause of the murders range from religious decrees by clerics — Moktada al-Sadr, an influential, anti-American cleric with considerable influence in Sadr City recently d evoting Friday prayer service to inveigh against homosexuality – to families and tribal groups repulsed by homosexuality who defend their killings as being perpetrated at the behest of the ‘democratic’ Iraqi government. Shiite and Sunni death squads, militias, and officials point to homosexuality as a ‘crime punishable by death’. The Iraqi government continues with its plans to execute in ‘batches of 20’ gay men detained without legal representation and verbally and physically forced into some ‘confession’.
“These gross human-rights violations are not a series of isolated or sporadic acts of violence but the widespread practice of ‘sexual cleansing’ against the Iraqi gay community,” states Walter Armstrong, an organizer of the vigil and rally Friday. “We are delivering a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanding that he take immediate steps to publicly condemn this anti-gay terrorism and order his security forces to put an end to it. We also ask President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to hold al-Malaki accountable for these violations of international law.”
Brendan Fay, a co-organizer, is urging immediate intervention by U.S. officials, namely President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. “LGBT people are being harassed, threatened, detained, tortured, shot and maimed with no right to legal representation, all this with the unabashed cooperation of family, tribal leaders and state officials. We cannot afford to wait until GOP leaders lift their hold on President Obama’s nominee Christopher Hill to the post of Ambassador to Iraq. We merely need aggressive, diplomatic action from Obama, Secretary Clinton and anyone with the power and will to save the lives of our brothers in Iraq.”
Ali Hill, an exiled, self-identified gay Iraqi runs a London-based group called Iraqi LGBT that is working to put a stop to the murders. Iraqi LGBT has posted a petition at its web site, iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com. Additionally, his group operates a series of safe houses for lgbt Iraqis.
On Friday organizers will demand that the State Department help support the protection of targeted or threatened lgbt Iraqi’s with funds and other resources to expand the network of safe houses and the “underground railroad” that currently takes at-risk individuals out of the country. Additionally, Fay, Armstrong, Hill and Michael Petrelis, who helped form a similar rally in San Francisco on April 6th, ask that members of the lgbt and human rights communities contact their elected officials and advocacy organizations to demand change of ‘lax’ U.S. policy towards persecuted lgbt individuals worldwide, most pressingly in Iraq.

See also previous posts:

San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 5 PM, Harvey Milk Plaza

By Michael Petrelis

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2009/04/san-francisco-gays-protest-6-gay-iraqi.html

milkplazaOver the weekend, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters news wires, along with CNN, have reported on the murders of six gay men in the slums of Baghdad in recent weeks.

This is one news account of the anti-gay violence:

Residents told AFP that the bodies of two men aged 16 and 18 were found on waste ground on the outskirts of Sadr City, and that several days previously two homosexuals had been dumped in the street with their arms and legs broken.
During Friday prayers in Sadr City, a poor district of Baghdad where some two million Iraqis live, Sheikh Jassem al-Mutairi slammed what he called “new private practices by some men who dress like women, who are effeminate.

And this round-up of bad news is from the ThinkProgress site:

An Iraqi defense ministry official reports that at least six gay men have been shot dead in two separate incidents during the past 10 days in a Shia-controlled part of Baghdad. The official said today that three bullet-riddled bodies of gay individuals have been identified in Sadr City:

“Three corpses of homosexuals have been recovered in Sadr City. Two of the bodies, found on Thursday, had pieces of paper attached on which was written the word ‘Pervert.’ The third body was retrieved on Friday,” the official said.

Other dead bodies had the word “puppies” written on their chests. Puppy is a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to gays. Witnesses told CNN that a Sadr City cafe, which was a popular gathering spot for gays, was also set on fire.

In response to the gay murders, longtime affordable housing and queer community organizer Tommi Avicolli Mecca, gay Board of Supervisors’ member Bevan Dufty and myself will be holding a speak out against the killings, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq, on Monday.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Rally and speak out over gay murders in Iraq

WHEN April 6

TIME: 5 PM

WHERE: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets

Please join us for this important early evening street visibility action to call attention and object to the homo-hatred in Iraq. More details on the action to follow later today and tomorrow.

See also previous posts:

Six gay men murdered in Iraqi slum
By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk • April 4, 2009

iraqattack

Photo: Iraq Attack by Therion

Two gay men have been found dead in the Baghdad Shiite slum of Sadr City following condemnations of homosexuality by a leading local cleric. It has also emerged today that a further four were murdered in March.

The Shiite cleric Sattar al-Battat has reportedly repeatedly been condemning homosexuality in Friday prayers.

Iraqi police said that the two men were killed on Thursday and that they believed the perpetrators were their family, shamed by their homosexuality. Associated Press report that the police believe this because no one have yet claimed their bodies or called for an investigation.

Last month, Iraqi police found four bodies buried near the slums with the words “pervert” and “puppies” on their chests. “Puppy” being used as derogatory word used to describe gay people in the region.

“When the Mahdi army was in control, such practices were banned, and homosexuals were afraid of declaring their tendencies,” an unnamed official told the Associated Press. But since the Mahdi Army cease fire a coffee shop has apparently become a hangout for gay men.

“Such people have brought shame on Sadr city people,” a colleague of Sattar al-Battat told the news agency. “The blame falls on the security forces who do little to combat this phenomenon or to stop the flow of pornography materials into Iraq.”

“Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, homophobia and the terrorisation of LGBT people has got much worse,” human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell wrote on PinkNews.co.uk in February. “The western invasion of Iraq in 2003 ended the tyrannical Baathist dictatorship. But it also destroyed a secular state, created chaos and lawlessness and allowed the flourishing of religious fundamentalism. The result has been an Islamist-inspired homophobic terror campaign against LGBT Iraqis.”

“Queers are being shot dead in their homes, streets and workplaces,” he added. “Even suspected gay children are being murdered. They killers claim to be doing these assassinations at the behest of the ‘democratic’ Iraqi government, in order to eradicate what they see as immoral, un-Islamic behaviour.”

See also: Gays killed in Baghdad as clerics urge clampdown

Iraqi police: 2 gay men killed in Baghdad slum

Iraqi gays killed in Baghdad by tribal members by Therion

See also previous posts: