Iraq: a draft legislation proposing a ban on homosexuality is submitted to Parliament

Homosexuality in Iraq was decriminalised in 1969. Now, a little over 50 years later and a year after the first attempt, a bill proposing to ban homosexuality has been reintroduced in Iraq. 

Signed by Mortada Al-Saadi, deputy head of the legal affairs committee of the federal parliament in Baghdad, this bill was officially presented to the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, who was asked to include it in the next legislative agenda, scheduled for September.

Currently, Iraq does not explicitly prohibit same-sex relations, however some articles of the 1969 penal code have been used to criminalise members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Although homosexuality has been legal in the country for more than half a century, LGBTQIA+ Iraqis have suffered and continue to suffer abuse, including torture, abduction, physical assault, and in some tragic cases death, from conservative families and groups. It is enough to think that there are groups within the country that act with the sole objective of punishing homosexuals with death, and this seems absurd not only because of the ferocity and viciousness of such persecutory activity but also because in the Middle Ages, as Abu Nuwas recounted in his verses and poems of homoerotic love, those who were homosexuals in Iraq were socially accepted and involved. 

Last year, when the first attempt to ban homosexualism in Iraq was recorded, Amir Ashour, head of the LGBTQIA+ group IraQueer, spoke of the serious implications of this new bill in a statement to GAY TIMES: ‘The Iraqi government is using its hatred for LGBTQIA+ people to distract citizens from their inability to form a government and provide services. The international community must put pressure on Iraq immediately. The lives of LGBTQIA+ people and the future of the queer movement are at stake.

And this year, what will happen?

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