In what Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), called “a small but historic step,” the UN Security Council met to discuss human rights violations against LGBTQ people living under the oppression and violence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL).
ISIS, as previously reported, has horrifyingly been slaughtering LGBTQ people by, as Al Jazeera describes, “stoning, firing squads and beheadings, and by pushing men from tall buildings.” During the closed door meeting, it was revealed that ISIS has claimed responsibility for killing 30 individuals suspected of being LGBTQ.
Many of these deaths have been filmed or photographed and then released to the public as propaganda. The most recent included school children participating in the killings.
The summit to discuss LGBTQ persons and ISIS was co-hosted by the United States and Chile and was open to all 193 United Nations member countries to participate and to hear the testimonies of those who had escaped ISIS territory after being persecuted based on their sexual orientation.
Subhi Nahas, one of the speakers and a Syrian refugee living in the United States, explained that stopping these atrocities against LGBTQ people “requires immediate global intervention.”
Nahas also wrote, in a released statement, of the plight of his friends who were still living in Syria: “My friends are feeling alone and terrified living in places where people who don’t fit into what others deem as ‘normal,’ are being persecuted and killed simply for who they are and what they believe. I’m receiving messages daily from my friends, who are terrified and feeling alone because of ISIL’s constant attacks, murders, and infiltration, and shutting off of the one escape route to safety in Turkey.”
Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), stressed during her opportunity to address the United Nations, that neighboring countries should be open and willing to aid persecuted LGBTQ individuals, providing sanctuary for those escaping violence.
Briefing the press on the UN meeting, Stern reiterated how pressing the situation was, saying, “Given the extreme and constant attacks against LGBTI people we think it’s of the utmost importance for the Security Council to act urgently.”
It is a desperate situation where those in the LGBTQ community in Iraq and Syria live in constant fear and it is essential for the world to act in order to save lives.
Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.