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violence against Iraqi gays

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After USA and UK have occupied Iraq they were setting up alliances with the fundamentalist groups in order to achieve what they call “stability”, this lead to the human rights disaster as more and more gay people are targeted for violent attacks (often resulting in death). The total number of killed individuals is at least 678, according to London-based group Iraqi LGBT, that counts only confirmed deaths resulting from the personʼs sexuality. However, New-York-based Human Rights Watch extimates the number of killings in 2009 alone to be in the hundreds, according to their field investigations.

People are being targeted primarily by Shia militias, and therefore majority of killings occur in the in southern and central areas of Iraq. Not only gays, but efeminate men in general are being targeted, transwomen are the at most risk (especially those taking hormones).

While no specific group identifies itself as the perpetrators of the killings, Mehdi Army may be amonst the groups responsible, particularly in Sadr City (which is the stronghold of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr). Smaller Shia militias have also been threatening gays. The difficulty in identifying the killers is due to traditional lack of openness in the operations of militias in the country.

The first sign of violence were the sermons on the “dangers of homosexuality” being preached in mosques, particularly the ones controlled by Sadrists. Weeks later killings started. Some believe that Mehdi Army is using the campaign of anti-gay violence in order to gain the credibility of the population. al-Sadr himelf warned against the killings, while saying that he will dead the campaign against homosexuality through “teaching”.

Iraqi police force have been implicated in arresting gay people and then handing them over to the militias, and while Abdul-Karim Khalaf, the ministry of interior's official spokesman, denied the allegations, it is not difficult to see how the police force, which is discriminatory in any country, would participate in such an action.

By 2009 June USA has finally verbally condemned the attacks, while taking no responsibility for the situation. LGBT people from Iraq say that the invasion by the Western powers allowed this anti-gay propaganda to spread through the country, and thus should at the very least acknowledge what is happening and automatically allow the assylum status for all the LGBT people in their countries.

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