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|August 17, 2009: Hastings Urges Greater Protections for Gay Iraqis|
Lauds Report by Human Rights Watch
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement on the release of a Human Rights Watch report entitled, “They Want Us Exterminated: Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq.” The report documents the extrajudicial persecution, torture, and execution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis. In recent months, hundreds of gay men have been tortured and murdered in Iraq in a systematic campaign of social cleansing by Shiite militiamen and extremists. Furthermore, victims and witnesses allege that Iraqi security forces have colluded and joined in the killing.
“The alarming testimonies detailed in this report are undeniable evidence that the rights and safety of gay Iraqis are at risk,” said Hastings.
“Gay Iraqis should not have to live in fear of being tortured, mutilated, or murdered by their countrymen. International human rights law explicitly condemns torture and guarantees the right to life and the right to effective state protection. These abuses fundamentally threaten the rights and safety of all Iraqis.
“I urge the Iraqi government to stem this tide of violence and hate and to protect its LGBT citizens,” further noted Hastings. “I also commend Human Rights Watch for raising awareness of this urgent matter and for its ongoing dedication to defending and protecting human rights around the world.”
Hastings is a leader in the fight for LGBT equality in the United States and abroad. On May 25, he joined Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and 39 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging the State Department to prioritize the investigation of these human rights violations and to work together with the Iraqi government and human rights organizations to end the torture and killing of LGBT Iraqis. To read the Human Rights Watch report, please click: http://www.hrw.org/node/85050
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings is Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a senior member of the House Rules Committee, and Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.