Thursday, September 10, 2009

More and more gay men killed in Iraq  

Just read a heart-breaking article about a surge in the killing of gay men in Iraq. Homosexuality is not illegal in Iraq, but LGBT Iraqis are still the target of abuse, discrimination, and hatred.

As the world hails Iraq's supposed return to normality, the country's militias -- the same ones that spent years waging a sectarian civil war -- have found a new, less apparent target: men suspected of being gay. The systematic killings, which began earlier this year, reveal the cracks behind Iraq's fragile calm. Iraq's leaders may talk of security and democracy from behind barbed wire in the Green Zone, but the surge of murders against gay men is a stark sign of how far Iraqi society still has to go.

During a 10-day Human Rights Watch research trip to Iraq in April, we heard harrowing stories of torture, abductions, kidnappings, extortion, and murder. We listened to dozens of men who had faced violence at the hands of armed militias, attacked by youths with guns for violating the unwritten codes of Iraqi masculinity.

In August, Human Rights Watch released a full report detailing the "wide-reaching campaign of extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and torture of gay men that began in early 2009." Read it for more information.

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