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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Los Angeles City Council opposes Iraqi gay pogram

A call to end the persecution of gays and lesbians in Iraq, which one Los Angeles lawmaker said is vastly underreported, was backed today by members of the Los Angeles City Council.

The non-binding resolution by openly gay City Councilman Bill Rosendahl calls for federal legislation that would urge the Iraqi government to "prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and protect the right to life and the right to all its citizens to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has chronicled violence against gay Iraqis. In March and April, six men were killed because of their perceived sexual orientation, the commission reported.

According to Amnesty International, 25 boys and men were killed in Baghdad this spring following calls from religious leaders to eradicate homosexuality.

Articles published in Newsweek and The New York Times quoted Iraqi government officials as expressing little concern for crimes against gays and lesbians.

Rosendahl was incensed by the lack of action.

"This is an outrage. The annihilation of our people, ordered by religious decree in a nation where our troops have sacrificed their lives to restore religious freedom, is appalling," he said. "The Iraqi government must stop it, and the United States government must exert its leadership and pressure the Iraqi government to do so in a loud and unequivocal voice."




WHEREAS, any official position of the City of Los Angeles with respect to legislation, rules, regulations or policies proposed to or pending before a local, state or federal government body or agency must have first been adopted in the form of a Resolution by the City Council with the concurrence of the Mayor: and

WHEREAS, very disturbing reports are surfacing from Iraq about torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people; and

WHEREAS, for the past three weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on in Iraq based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted and some religious leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels; and

WHEREAS, attacks against homosexuals have been abundant in certain neighborhoods, especially poor regions and remote areas such as the southern provinces and the Hurriya, Sho’la and Sadr neighborhoods in Baghdad; so far, 63 members of the group have been tortured; and

WHEREAS, a prominent Iraqi human rights activist has reported that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using “Iranian gum” a very strong Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery; after they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea and since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death; and

WHEREAS, many young men who have been tortured by this method have gone to the hospital for treatment and in some cases they were refused treatment; and

WHEREAS, according to newspaper reports from local news sources in Sadr City in East Baghdad, a previously unknown group “Ahl al-Haq” (the followers of Truth) have stepped up the persecution of Iraqi homosexuals after the murder of a number of them in the past few days; and

WHEREAS, local police authorities have stated that “the extra-judicial killing of any citizen is a crime punishable by law. No one has the right to become a substitute for judicial authorities or executive authorities, and if there are complaints against individuals, there is law and there are police and there are government agencies. No group or class has the authority to punish people instead of the state;” and

WHEREAS, As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Iraqi government has an obligation to protect the right to life (Article 6) and the right of all its citizens “to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 7);

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, with the concurrence of the Mayor, that by the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Los Angeles hereby includes in its 2009-2010 Federal Legislative Program support for legislation and administrative action which calls upon the government of Iraq to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and protect the right to life and the right of all its citizens to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council hereby calls on the United States government, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to take action to end the persecution and murder of Iraqi gays, including but not limited to making a strong, public and international statement condemning the action and exerting all necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to take action.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council hereby calls on the mainstream media to shine a light on and draw attention to this largely ignored story of brutality, discrimination and human rights violations.

Councilman, 11th District


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