LGBT people kidnapped, tortured and killed with impunity in Iraq, condemns Human Rights Watch

To substantiate their report, HRW and IraQueer interviewed 54 Iraqi LGBT male and female survivors of armed group and police violence. In particular, we find the testimony of Kadhya, a 31-year-old transgender woman who was abducted in February 2021.”five or six people“, who severely beat her, stabbed her with a razor and a screwdriver, and doused her body with five liters of gasoline and then set it on fire. Neighbors saved her.

Leith, a 27-year-old man, recounts how his boyfriend was murdered in front of him in May 2020.

The report is also based on interviews with representatives of nine human rights organizations and international agencies, as well as seven representatives of foreign missions in Iraq and LGBT rights advocates.

Two NGOs describe eight kidnappings, eight attempted murders, four extrajudicial executions, 27 cases of sexual violence (including gang rape), 45 threats of rape and murder, and 42 cases of online harassment.

In eight cases, violence by armed groups and police, including arbitrary arrests and sexual harassment, was directed against minors under 15 years of age. Most of the attacked (39 people) were able to identify the attacking group.

In this way, HRW documents assassination attempts by armed groups mainly in the territory “People’s mobilization detachments” Where “Hashd al-Shaabi“, a paramilitary force theoretically subordinate to the prime minister and having a political showcase called the “Alliance of Conquest”.

All 54 people interviewed by HRW and IraQueer reported having been harassed on the street, ranging from verbal abuse to armed robbery. Sixteen people say they have already tried to commit suicide at least once.

People interviewed testify to daily arrests and violence by security personnel who attack them verbally and physically, arrest and detain them arbitrarily, often without legal grounds, and denounce NGOs.

While in detention, LGBT people are again subjected to ill-treatment, such as deprivation of food and water, prohibition to communicate with a lawyer or family members, lack of medical care. Some report sexual and physical abuse and say they were then forced to sign a document stating that they were not abused.

The majority of those interviewed (40 people) also testified to being subjected to extreme violence by relatives, mostly males, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Such abuse includes being locked in a room for extended periods of time, being deprived of food and water, being burned, beaten, raped, electrocuted, held at gunpoint or treated and forced to undergo hormone therapy, forced marriage or long-term work. hours without pay.

All 54 LGBT people interviewed said they would not report crimes to the authorities, either because of previous failed attempts or fear that the blame would be placed on themselves and their sexual orientation or gender identity. NGOs point out that the reasons for “morality“, “are vaguely defined in the Iraqi penal code, as well as the lack of reliable complaint systems and legislation protecting them from discrimination“Create”an environment in which armed government actors, including the police, can abuse LGBT people with impunity“.

The Iraqi government has a responsibility to protect the rights of LGBT people to life and security, but has failed to bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.

The Iraqi government has a responsibility to protect the rights of LGBT people to life and security, but has failed to bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.“, denounces HRW.The Iraqi government did nothing to stop the violence or bring the attackers to justice.” insists Rasha Younes.

Human Rights Watch is calling on the Iraqi authorities to investigate all reports of homophobic and transphobic violence and to prosecute, fairly try and convict those responsible. The NGO is also asking them to publicly and directly condemn this violence.

Iraqi security forces must stop harassing and arresting LGBT people… and instead protect them from violence“, asks an NGO that also advocates for the introduction and strengthening of anti-discrimination legislation, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Human Rights Watch is also calling on countries providing military, security and intelligence assistance to Iraq targeting the US, UK, Germany and France to call on the Iraqi authorities to investigate these acts of violence.

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