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IRAQ

Two ‘Safe Houses’ for Gays in Iraq Set To Close for Lack of Donations

 

Just £1,000 raised in donations in a month
 

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LONDON, October 17, 2007  –  Up to 25 gay men will next month have to ‘take their chances’ in Iraq where religious militia regularly seek out gays and execute them.  Two ‘safe houses’ for gays will be forced to close at the end month – due to lack of cash, it was learned last night.

And appeal for funds was made last month by the London-based IraqiLGBT group, which runs the five safe houses.  The appeal was promoted on a number of LGBT online sires and blogs in several countries, including this website.

But just under £1,000 ($US2,000, €1,400) is all has been raised as a result of the appeal.  The amount barely covers the cost of running one safe house for a month.

“I have come to a decision on closing down two safe houses because I can not keep promising people things we can not deliver,” Ali Hili, who heads IraqiLGBT, told UK Gay News.

“It is really breaks my heart … I feel so sad and helpless that I am letting down so many people need my help at the most important times of all,” he added.

Judging by the page reads on the last appeal, if everyone had given just £5, it would have provided enough to maintain one safe house for almost six months.

The cost of running one safe house for a month is about £900 ($1,800).  This includes £400 for rent £200 for the salaries of two guards – an essential part of the security arrangements, and £300 per month for gas, fuel for electricity generators, food, clean drinking water, hygienic supplies etc.

Each house accommodates between 10 to 12 gay men in a relative secure environment.

Since the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq, gay people in Iraq have suffered particularly intense persecution.

Violence against all the gay community has intensified sharply since late 2005, when Iraq’s leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa (religious decree) which declared that gays and lesbians should be “killed in the worst, most severe way”.

■ You can help make a difference in this tragic situation by making an online PayPal donation via the Friends of Iraqi LGBT website.  You don't need a PayPal account, you can pay by credit card.

SEE ALSO

Cash Crisis Puts Doubt on Future of ‘Safe Houses’ for Gays in Iraq.  Iraqi LGBT is facing a cash crisis in their efforts to assist lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in Iraq.  For over a year, Friends of Iraqi LGBT has been trying to help by funding safe houses in Iraq for those who have come to the attention of the death squads and who have consequently had to flee their homes.   (UK Gay News, September 15, 2007)

For Gays in Iraq, a Life of Constant Fear.  By Molly Hennessy-Fiske.  BAGHDAD — Samir Shaba sits in a restaurant, nervously describing gay life in Iraq. He speaks in a low voice, occasionally glancing over his shoulder.  (Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2007)

More Gays Executed.  Iraqi lesbians and gays continue to be subjected a systematic reign of terror by Shia death squads, Ali Hili, the coordinator of the human rights group Iraqi LGBT, said in London this morning.  Warning - there is a graphic image on this page.  (UK Gay News, April 4, 2007)

Iraqi Police Execute “Gay” Child in Baghdad.  Gay human rights group Outrage! has today accused Iraqi police of executing a 14 year old boy in the al-Dura district of Baghdad in early April. (UK Gay News, May 4, 2006)

Ahmed’s Story – A Cruel, Barbaric Death.  By Ali Hili.  Ahmed Khalil was a likeable, playful 14 year old boy, born in the southern Iraqi town of al-Ammara.  The eldest child, he came from an uneducated family who lived in great poverty.  (UK Gay News, May 4, 2006)

Focus on Teens Trapped In Commercial Gay Sex Trade in Iraq Hassan Feiraz, a 16-year-old boy, has started a desperate new life since being forced into the sex trade in Baghdad, joining a growing number of adolescents soliciting in Iraq under the threat of street gangs or the force of poverty.  “Every day I cry at night,” Feiraz said.  “I’m a homosexual and was forced to work as a prostitute because one of the people I had sex with took pictures of me in bed and said that, if I didn't work for him, he was going to send the pictures to my family.”  (UK Gay News, August 8, 2005)

Iraqi Gays Face Abuse and Murder.  As Iraq wrestles with its planned constitution, the country’s gays and lesbians face blackmail, rape and murder, a LGBT human rights group charged today.  (UK Gay News, August 16, 2005)

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Posted: 17 October 2007 at 00:00 (UK time)

 

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