Urgent: Stop the KRI Parliament from passing a law criminalizing LGBT+ citizens and banning Queer activism
Rudaw News Agency published yesterday that the Kurdish Parliament is planning inside the parliament to legislate a law prohibiting homosexuality in Iraq and banning any kind of activity “promoting” queer community rights. The draft of the anti – LGBT+ legislation was submitted yesterday – The 4th of September 2022 and 50+ signatures were already collected.
The proposed law entails two parts:
1. Prosecution for up to one month minimum and a year maximum of queer activists and organizations.
2. A fine of minimum 500K IQD and maximum 5M IQD for anyone breaking the law.
This proposed law constitutes another attack by Iraqi officials- this time the Kurdish ones- on the LGBT+ community. For nearly two decades, LGBT+ Iraqis have been the victims of rape, torture, and murder. The Iraqi and Kurdish governments did not only fail to put an end to these crimes but has actually committed many of them through police forces and armed groups. Kurdish officials have always advocated for Kurdistan region as a relatively safer environment for LGBT+ people and label Kurdish region as more progressive than the rest of Iraq, yet such laws are being drafted and voted on in the parliament.
The passage of this law will put LGBT+ Iraqis generally and Kurdish LGBT+ member specifically at great danger as it will allow the government to be legally protected when committing these crimes against the community. Such a law will also put LGBT+ advocates and allies in danger reducing the already limited spaces available to LGBT+ advocacy inside Iraq and threatening the young queer movement in Iraq. It will also leave the community members with no choice but to seek immigration.
The lives of LGBT+ Iraqis and especially the Kurdish ones are on the line. We call on allies in the Kurdish government and the international community to act immediately. We urge the international community including the United Nations, European Union, Embassies, and International Organizations to put pressure on Iraqi Kurdistan government to refrain from passing this law.
We also call on Iraqi LGBT+ people and all Kurdish activists to join the fight for queer rights in Iraq. IraQueer is dedicated to advocating for LGBT+ Iraqis and we need to step up as a community to fight these attacks.
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