Crime & Justice

UN ‘alarmed’ by Iraq’s draft law introducing death penalty for same-sex relations

Geneva, Switzerland, Feb 9 (EFE).- The United Nations Human Rights Office on Friday expressed concerns over a draft law in Iraq that suggests imposing the death penalty and life imprisonment for individuals engaging in same-sex relations in the country.

“We are troubled by proposed amendments to legislation in Iraq which, if approved, would impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for engaging in consensual same-sex relations, as well as for certain forms of adultery,” UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Marta Hurtado said in a statement.

“We call on the members of Parliament to ensure that any legislation is fully in line with Iraq’s human rights obligations,” she added.

The spokesperson expressed concerns that the proposed amendments are “even more alarming” given the “widening use” of the death penalty by the Iraqi government in recent months.

According to Hurtado, Iraq executed “more than a dozen” convicted people by the end of 2023 and has reportedly “authorized” the execution of “hundreds” of other prisoners.

“We call on the government to halt all planned executions and establish a moratorium on any imposition of capital punishment, with a view to its abolition,” Hurtado stressed.

For countries that have not abolished capital punishment, Hurtado noted that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Iraq in 1971, strictly “limits” the death penalty to “the most serious crimes,” such as intentional killing.

“This was among the issues raised, with deep concern, by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk with Iraqi authorities during his mission to Iraq in August last year,” she added. EFE

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