The Iraqi government has drafted a plan to criminalize homosexuality, according to a member of the country’s Parliamentary Legal Committee.
“It was agreed within the parliament to collect signatures after returning to session to legislate a law prohibiting homosexuality in Iraq,” Aref al-Hamami, an MP with the State of Law coalition said on Friday. “[The] legislation of such a law will be reinforced by legal provisions that prevent homosexuality and the perversions associated with it.”
Amir Ashour, head of the LGBTQ group IraQueer, said that the proposed law would “allow the Iraqi government to legally get away with murder.”
In a statement Ashour went on to say that “The Iraqi government is using their hatred for LGBT+ people to distract the public from their failure to form a government, provide basic services, and hold perpetrators accountable for different human rights violations.”
Ashour went on to challenge the international community to put pressure on Iraqi to make sure the law is not passed. “The lives of LGBT+ people and the future of the queer movement is on the line.”
Although homosexuality was legalized after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, LGBTQ Iraqi’s have continued to be persecuted under the country’s laws punishing “immodest acts.” Human Rights Watch reports that 11 LGBTQ individuals were arrested in June 2021 for “public indecency.”
In 2020, political and religious leaders in Iraq condemned several embassies and international organizations for flying the rainbow flag in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
In 2018, a harrowing video circulated on Iraqi social media showing a popular 14-year-old Instagram influencer being brutally murdered for being perceived as gay.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Ashour detailed the gravity of the situation for Iraq’s LGBTQ citizens.
“Local legal ‘experts’ [in Iraq] mistakenly compare queer identities to ‘shameful acts’; which in their opinion include ‘prostitution’ claiming that these ‘crimes’ are punished by the death penalty,” Ashour tweeted last week.
He asserts that the country “is currently being led by a group of fundamentalist terrorists who are leading armed groups and spreading fear and violence instead of protecting the human rights of Iraqis and building a country for all citizens, including #LGBT+ citizens.”
“While #LGBT+ Iraqis have been the target of systematic killing campaigns and things are as bad as it gets, this law will allow the government to ‘legally’ get away with murder putting #LGBT+ citizens and those advocating for us in greater danger.”