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Iraq Enacts Harsh Anti-LGBT Legislation: A Blow to Human Rights

Iraq’s parliament recently passed a stringent law criminalizing same-sex relationships, imposing a maximum 15-year prison sentence. The legislation, titled the Law on Combating Prostitution and Homosexuality, reflects a concerning trend of increased scrutiny and persecution of LGBT individuals in Iraq.

Legislation Overview

Under the Law on Combating Prostitution and Homosexuality, engaging in same-sex relations carries a penalty of at least 10 years in prison, extending up to 15 years. Advocating for homosexuality or prostitution is punishable by a minimum of seven years behind bars. Additionally, individuals who alter their “biological gender” or dress in a manner considered effeminate face imprisonment ranging from one to three years.

Background and Opposition

Initially, the bill proposed the death penalty for same-sex acts but was revised before passage due to strong opposition from the United States and European nations. Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have condemned the legislation, citing it as a severe violation of fundamental human rights.

Impact on LGBT Community

Iraq did not explicitly outlaw gay sex before this legislation, though vague morality clauses in its penal code had been used to target LGBT individuals. Members of the community have historically faced violence from armed groups and individuals. The enactment of this law further exacerbates the challenges faced by LGBT individuals in Iraq, creating a hostile environment for their existence and rights.

Global Implications and Condemnation

Rights groups and international entities have condemned Iraq’s enactment of the anti-LGBT law, highlighting its implications for human rights and freedoms. The move represents a broader trend of conservative factions in Iraqi politics denouncing LGBT rights, signaling a concerning regression in human rights protections within the country.

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