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UN highlights IS violence against gays

August 25, 2015

The UN Security Council has discussed violence against gays committed by the "Islamic State" in Syria and Iraq during an informal meeting Monday. The debate was the first of its kind to focus solely on gay rights.

Islamischer Staat Kämpfer
Image: picture-alliance/abaca/Balkis Press

The UN Security Council on Monday heard testimony from Syrian and Iraqi gays detailing their terror-filled lives under the "Islamic State"(IS) marking the first council meeting dedicated to LGBT rights.

"In the Islamic State (IS), gays are being tracked and killed all the time," said Syrian Subhi Nahas, who escaped the country and now works for a refugee organization in the United States. He told the council about gays in his hometown of Idlib being hurled from rooftops and stoned by cheering mobs.

"At the executions, hundreds of townspeople including children cheered jubilantly as (if) at a wedding," Nahas told the council.

Homosexuals in Idlib have long been the target of violence in Syria, first by the government, then by the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, and finally by IS jihadists who took control of the city in 2014.

Adnan, a witness speaking under an assumed name out of fear for his safety told the council that IS "are professional when it comes to tracking gay people. They hunt them down one by one."

IS Kämpfer Videostill
The "Islamic State" group has brutalized homosexuals in the areas under its controlImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo

"They are trying to track down every gay man. And it's like dominoes. If one goes, the others will be taken down too," Adnan said.

Over thirty executions

IS jihadists have claimed responsibility for at least 30 executions for sodomy, Jessica Stern, director of the International Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission told the council. She said the IS group had posted at least seven videos or photos online publicizing the killings.

"In my society, being gay means death and when ISIS kills gays, most people are happy because they think we are evil, and ISIS gets a good credit for that," Adnan said.

The first-of-its-kind meeting was organized by the United States and Chile. US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said it was a sign that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights are "being injected into the mainstream at the United Nations."

The forum was open to all UN members states, but Security Council members Angola and Chad did not participate. More than 75 of the 193 member-states have laws criminalizing homosexuality.

The United States is leading an international coalition against IS, which seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in Summer 2014, declaring a caliphate.

bw/lw (AP, Reuters, AFP)