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Iraqi death squads once again targeting gays and lesbians

BAGHDAD, Iraq – International human rights officials said late Monday that they have received alarming reports out of Iraq about another wave of targeting killings of people who are perceived to be gay or lesbian.

An unidentified group posted death threats against “adulterous individuals” in the predominately Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad and Basra, two of Iraq’s major cities. 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.

Nearly 40 Iraqis perceived to be gay or lesbian have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered since early February when the postings went up, according to the reports.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) condemned the anti-gay violence and called upon the Iraqi government to intervene.

“The Iraqi government is responsible for the protection of all Iraqi citizens, including the members of the gay and lesbian community,” said Hossein Alizadeah, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for IGLHRC.

“We call on the Iraqi authorities to immediately intervene to protect the lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender community and to bring to justice those who are responsible for these atrocities. We particularly demand the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights denounce the anti-gay violence in Iraq and launch an official investigation into these heinous crimes,” Alizadeah said.

Carl Alan Johnson, executive director of IGLHRC, said Iraq should not allow death squads to operate.

“Today the government of Iraq represents a fully sovereign and democratic country. 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,” Johnson said.

“We have seen these atrocities before. In 2009 vigilantes murdered hundreds of Iraqi individuals for their perceived sexual orientation. There are no excuses for such heinous human rights violations. We demand that the Iraqi government put a stop to the wanton persecution and killing of gay people, and that the perpetrators punished,” Johnson said.

To read the previous stories on anti-gay violence in Iraq, click HERE and HERE.

About the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), founded in 1990, is a leading international human rights organization dedicated to improving the lives of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. It is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the LGBT human rights movement worldwide to conduct documentation of LGBT human rights violations and by engaging in human rights advocacy with partners around the globe. It works with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies and civil society partners. IGLHRC holds consultative status at the United Nations as a recognized Non-Governmental Organization representing the concerns and human rights of LGBT people worldwide. For more information, visit HERE.