The situation for LGBTQ+ Iraqis inside Iraq
Not a single city in Iraq is safe for any LGBTQ+ Iraqi citizen. The fear of death haunts every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual person in the country.
While certain cities in Iraq, including Baghdad and the cities of the Kurdish region, are seen as less conservative, safer, and more liberal, deaths and arrests remain common everywhere in Iraq to prove to us that things can be quiet for a while but can get really bad in the blink of an eye.
The arrest of the individuals who were accused of being LGBTQ+ by the security forces on April 1st of this year is one example of the abuse the community faces inside the region.
Life isn’t any easier for LGBTQ+ Iraqis outside the region as Iraqis continue to ask IraQueer and other NGOs for shelter, mental support, financial support, and advice to flee to another country.
What’s going on in Lithuanian?
“The Lithuanian migrant camp that's “like a prison””, is an article written by Maëva Poulet that explains the situation and the miserable daily life that thousands of asylum seekers have been living for months inside the camps.
The article states that since the beginning of 2021, around 4,124 people have fled their home countries and entered Lithuania illegally and that almost half of them are from Iraq.
People who live in these camps aren’t receiving meals that fill their hunger and are forced to stay inside the dirty camps dealing with all the stress. The 28-year-old asylum seeker, Marc says, “They’re pushing people to go back voluntarily: when agents come into the center, it’s not to ask about our living conditions but to ask us, “Have you decided to go back to your country?” After this whole journey … It’s utterly frustrating.”
Abass, who’s an Iraqi gay asylum seeker, tells IraQueer about his own situation and the messy life he has since he arrived to the camps. Abass says, “I have been in Lithuania for five months so far. When others inside the camp knew I was gay, they started looking at me as if I was a monster. I was dealing with a lot of bullying and stress until I was moved, along with many others, to a camp that was supposed to be for LGBTQ+ people only and it had 45 individuals in it.
The problem wasn’t ever resolved because I, along with the rest of the LGBTQ+ Iraqi asylum seekers, are still dealing with a lot of bullying and homophobia inside a camp that was supposed to be accommodating LGBTQ+ people only.
It turned out that majority of the ones we have been sharing the camp with aren’t really from the LGBTQ+ community! These people applied for asylum as gays because they knew that getting their application approved was much easier like that since homosexuals are seen as a marginalized minority. The problem with these people is that they’re not only liars, but they are homophobes too and that means that I have to avoid them as much as possible.
Other than the mess inside the camp with these homophobes, the Lithuania government is not providing us with enough food and while the majority gets paid, we don’t get anything and we don’t even know why. Our applications, including mine, got rejected and when we asked about the reason they said that Iraq is a safe country for LGBTQ+ people so we all can go back there and live safely.”
The purpose of this blog
This blog is a small introduction to the report that IraQueer is currently working on. The main goal of the report is to tell the stories of the LGBTQ+ Iraqis who have been living inside these camps for months, to explain the current situation and danger that surrounds the community inside Iraq, and to clarify to the Lithuanian government that Iraq, until this moment, isn’t safe for LGBTQ+ people. IraQueer, with all its hard work to help the community members, is unable to fix the situation.