MADRE Articles

MADRE Condemns Killings of Gay Men and Emo Youth in Iraq

Posted on: Friday, March 23, 2012

Keywords: Iraq, Middle East, Sexual Rights

MADRE and our partner group, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), denounce the recent killings of gay men and youth who are part of the “emo” subculture in Iraq.

Since February 6, dozens of gay men and young people have been brutally murdered in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, their mutilated bodies strewn in public as a warning to others. 

Our partners in Iraq report that the names of people targeted for murder are posted publicly by Islamist militias. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has condemned “emo” youth as satanic. Gay men and lesbians have, for years, faced death threats by Islamist militias. Scores of young people in Baghdad and other cities are in urgent need of shelter and relocation.

OWFI activists are working tirelessly to provide emergency transport and shelter to those most at risk. They have expanded their network of underground shelters, originally established with MADRE for women escaping honor killing, to accommodate targeted gay men and youth.

In recent weeks, OWFI has opened two new safe houses in Baghdad, sheltering 15 young gay men. OWFI activists in Samarra are opening another safe house there for three youth who are threatened. Human rights activists in Tikrit have also asked OWFI to establish a shelter there.

Local activists in Iraq are best positioned to respond to these brutal killings. MADRE will continue to work with OWFI to protect those whose lives are in danger and to press the Iraqi government to enforce an end to the violence.


Click on the links below for more information on these recent attacks:

VIDEO: 'Emo' youth targeted in Iraq (Al-Jazeera), features OWFI Director Yanar Mohammed

Iraq: Investigate 'Emo' Attacks (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission)

Threats and Killings Striking Fear Among Young Iraqis, Including Gays (The New York Times)

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Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444