New Legislation in Iraq Targets LGBT+ Community

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New Legislation in Iraq Targets LGBT+ Community

Iraq Steps Up Repression Against LGBT+ Individuals

Iraq has taken a significant step in intensifying its repression against the LGBT+ community. The Iraqi Parliament has recently passed a law that criminalizes homosexual relationships and gender transitions, with penalties extending up to fifteen years in prison. This new law modifies a 1988 anti-prostitution statute and was approved during a session attended by 170 out of 329 deputies.

International Response and Human Rights Concerns

Amnesty International has sharply criticized the law, describing it as a “violation of fundamental human rights” and highlighting the dangers it poses to Iraqis who face daily harassment. The legislation also includes provisions for up to seven years of imprisonment for promoting homosexuality and bans gender changes for personal reasons, with penalties ranging from one to three years for individuals or doctors involved.

Violence Against the LGBT+ Community

Beyond the legal threats, the LGBT+ community in Iraq is subjected to extreme violence, including kidnappings, rapes, tortures, and murders, often perpetrated with impunity by armed groups. Prior to this law, the 1969 Penal Code already imposed harsh penalties for acts like sodomy, which were used to prosecute LGBT+ individuals.

Global Reaction to the Legislation

The international response to this legislation has been swift and critical, particularly from the United States. The U.S. State Department has expressed “deep concern” over the law, pointing out the threats it presents to the most vulnerable segments of Iraqi society and its potentially adverse impact on governmental reform efforts. This situation highlights a profound cultural and political conflict and underscores the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBT+ community in many parts of the world.

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