Sign the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s letter urging the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the governments of Canada, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States to urgently step up resettlement and asylum efforts to help save lives and protect persecuted groups fleeing Islamic State violence.
For more information on this urgent campaign, visit the #DontTurnAway campaign page.
Letter to UNHCR
His Excellency António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Honorable Rob Nicholson, Foreign Minister of Canada
His Excellency Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister of France
His Excellency Børge Brende, Foreign Minister of Norway
His Excellency Bert Koenders, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands
Her Excellency Margot Wallstrom, Foreign Minister of Sweden
His Excellency John Kerry, United States Secretary of State
Since late June 2014, the Islamic State has chillingly documented the barbaric murders of 5 men allegedly for same-sex relations. The militants made a disturbing spectacle of these gruesome public executions, which involved throwing the victims off tall buildings, and in some cases, reportedly stoning or shooting them afterwards, then promoting the killings in photographs published online. Similar executions of four men allegedly accused of sodomy were documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The victims’ identities are not clear in each case, nor are the exact nature of the supposed acts they are accused of. And we don’t know their sexual orientation. What is clear is the Islamic State’s intent—to spread terror among an already persecuted population in the region and to warn against any kind of “moral” transgression.
These latest executions—occurring at a rate of about one a month since June—and the Islamic State’s previous threats against those who are accused of committing what they deem to be “sodomy” raise concerns for anyone in Iraq or Syria who does not conform to traditional norms about how men and women should look, act, or talk.
These atrocities only serve to heighten the alarm and psychological suffering among a population that has long endured discrimination and violence. Priority must be given to protecting these and other marginalized and persecuted minorities.
In light of these atrocities, we urge you to step up efforts to help protect these vulnerable groups, through resettlement programs and by expediting refugee applications for those fleeing the violence.
Our commitment to human rights demands measures that protect all people equally, without distinction or discrimination.
We urge you to honor this responsibility to protect human rights for all in this crisis.