The ratings are:
- Green: In line with world best-practice
- Amber: Lagging behind world best-practice
- Red: There’s major issues here
Is it legal to be gay?
- The legal position in Iraq is relatively complex. Historically, same-sex sexual relations have been illegal (going back to the legal system established under British rule). This was strengthened in 1988 when Sodomy was specifically included in the criminal code, and in 2001 the death-penalty was introduced for the crime of sodomy. In 2003, the Coalition Provision Authority issued a number of decrees that took out some of the more extreme elements, so in theory same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults is not illegal. However there is still numerous conflicting statements within the criminal code which, when combined with very vocal anti-gay religious leadership, means that it would be greatly over-stating it to suggest that the legal position of LGBTI people in Iraq is clear and protected.
- Adding to this complex picture is the ongoing war that has engulfed Syria and Iraq. The country that we know as Iraq is currently split into three — the capital of Baghdad and most of the country is controlled by the Iraqi army, however the Kurds are fighting to retain control of the north of the country, and they are both battling to resist the advances of the Islamic State.
Is there anti-discrimination legislation in place?
- No protection.
Is there marriage equality?
- No equality.
What’s it like for LGBTI who live there?
- Extremely dangerous.
- Reports continue to emerge of gay people being routinely killed or executed.
What’s it like for LGBTI who visit?
- Proceed with extreme caution.
Overall rating and comments
- Country of extreme concern.
- Any LGBTI in this region are at high risk of personal harm and death.
- However there are also some good news stories that can be found.
How you can help
- Find ways to help publicise the stories and experiences of LGBTI people in Iraq.
- Use your networks to raise awareness of the challenges faced by LGBTI people in Iraq.
- Lobby your political representatives to raise concerns regarding the vulnerability of LGBTI people in Iraq.