For the first time, the United States has officially condemned anti-gay violence in Iraq.

US State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly, when questioned by reporters about the issue, replied:

“In general, we absolutely condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals in Iraq because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is an issue that we’ve been following very closely since we have been made aware of these allegations, and we are aware of the allegations. Our training for Iraqi security forces includes instruction on the proper observance of human rights.

“Human rights training is also a very important part of our and other international donors’ civilian capacity-building efforts in Iraq. And the US embassy in Baghdad has raised, and will continue to raise, the issue with senior officials from the government of Iraq, and has urged them to respond appropriately to all credible reports of violence against gay and lesbian Iraqis.”

According to The Times of India Amnesty International has reported that “as many as 25 boys and men have been killed in Baghdad alone because they were either gay or believed to be amid concerns that religious leaders may be inciting violence against Iraq’s gay community”.

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