PFor the UN office, this is a legal reform that “must be withdrawn”, as it contradicts several treaties and conventions relating to fundamental freedoms ratified by Iraq, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The changes mean that people accused of having a homosexual relationship will face between 10 and 15 years in prison, while those who “promote homosexuality” will be sentenced to a minimum of seven years in prison, in addition to being fined.

The new law also punishes those who undergo sex change procedures, as well as doctors who perform them, with prison sentences of up to three years. People who wear clothes associated with the opposite sex are subject to the same penalty or fines.

The office headed by High Commissioner Volker Türk said there is sufficient evidence that the law “legitimizes prejudice, exposes people to hate crimes, police abuse, harassment, intimidation, blackmail and torture” and denies access to people in the community LGTBI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) to basic services such as healthcare, education and housing.

On Sunday, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, also expressed concern about the approval of these amendments and reiterated the commitment of the 27 members of the European bloc to “prevent and denounce all forms of discrimination”.

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