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In a massive blow to LGBTQ+ rights, the Iraq government has taken steps to criminalise homosexuality.

According to reports, the country’s Parliamentary Legal Committee met on 8 July to create proposals targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

In an interview with the Iraqi News Agency, State of Law coalition MP Aref al-Hamami confirmed the horrifying news.

“It was agreed within the parliament to collect signatures after returning to session to legislate a law prohibiting homosexuality in Iraq,” he said, as reported by Middle East Eye.

“[The] legislation of such a law will be reinforced by legal provisions that prevent homosexuality and the perversions associated with it.”

In a statement to GAY TIMES, Amir Ashour, head of the LGBTQ+ group IraQueer, opened up about the serious implications of the proposed law.

“The Iraqi government is using their hatred for LGBT+ people to distract the public from their failure to form a government, provide basic services, and hold perpetrators accountable for different human rights violations,” he said.

“The international community must put pressure on Iraq immediately. The lives of LGBT+ people and the future of the queer movement is on the line.”

While homosexuality is currently legal in the country, LGBTQ+ citizens have faced abuse over the years – including torture, kidnapping, physical assaults and even death – from families and conservative groups.

Alongside community backlash, law enforcement have also used vague policies within the country’s penal code system to target LGBTQ+ people.

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, 11 LGBTQ+ individuals were arrested in June 2021 under article 401 of the penal code – which criminalises “public indecency”.

The organisation also revealed that their cases have remained open as of March 2022.

See below for more information regarding the government’s aforementioned ban on homosexuality.