Thursday, April 2, 2009

Iraq and Violence Against LGBT

A group of Iraqi gay men -- calling itself Iraqi LGBT, basing out of London -- has been out in the UK gay news stating that a large amount of individuals are about to be put to death under the Shi'ite government for the crime of homosexuality.

From the UK Gay News Story:
LONDON, March 30, 2009 – More than 100 prisoners in Iraq are facing execution – and many of them are believed to have been convicted of the ‘crime’ of being gay, the UK-based Iraqi-LGBT group revealed this afternoon.

According to Ali Hili of Iraqi-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week. There is, said Mr. Hili, at least one member of Iraqi-LGBT who are among those to be put to death.

And the London-based group, which believes that a total of 128 executions are imminent, is calling on the UK Government, international human rights groups and the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva to intervene “with due speed” to prevent “this tragic miscarriage of justice” from going ahead.

“We have information and reports on members of our community whom been arrested and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality,” Mr Hili told UK Gay News.

The problem? The information cannot be confirmed. Even Andrew Sullivan cannot independently confirm the information, and the public face of the organization -- their website -- is poorly updated and even worse designed. They are in London, which makes me believe this isn't just another case of "does not have access to."

If it's true, it's awful, and I think it demands a full and complete intervention on the part of the nations who signed the UN Declaration on Decriminalization of Homosexuality. In fact, it's garnering enough chatter that someone with the capabilities to investigate in the country, should (like, say, the UN Human Rights Council? Or, perhaps, the US?).

If it's not true, well, they're asking for money on the front page. I'm sure some nice gentleman in London will thank you.

And even if it isn't true, it's good to remember that Iraqi law -- as with most Islamic countries -- dictates extreme punishments for homosexuality, which is a travesty in and of itself. And there is extreme violence against LGBT-identified persons in that area of the world requiring LGBT individuals to use an Underground Railroad like system to get out. At the very least, this will get some focus on the rights abuses of homosexuals in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Southern Asia (INDIA), etc.

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