IGLHRC’s work in the Middle East and North Africa currently focuses on Iran and Iraq, two countries where sexual minorities confront enormous dangers. According to the Iranian penal code, homosexual conduct is a crime punishable by death. Although the Iraqi penal code does not prohibit sexual activity between consenting same-sex adults, the chaos caused by ongoing war enables death squads to persecute gay men and lesbians. Our staff partners with activists to fight for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the region.
Most of our work on Iran and Iraq has involved emergency responses to arrests and executions, such as when we joined other human rights activists in demanding a halt to the execution of Makvan Mouloodzadeh, an Iranian who was convicted of sodomy allegedly committed at age 13 and sentenced to death by the Iranian judicial system in 2007. We have also contributed to the rentals of safe houses for gay Iraqis who have been persistently persecuted by militias, and have worked with international refugee groups to help Iranian refugees in Turkey.