Country Policy and Information Note: Iraq Sexual Orientation, and gender identity and expression

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This resource is relevant for humanitarian practitioners, especially those working with Iraqi refugees, because it provides a comprehensive overview of state and non-state threats against the Iraqis based on their SOGIE. This would also be useful for those assisting with refugee claim submissions.

These guidelines lay out the process by which Home Office personnel are to determine the legitimacy of an Iraqi citizen’s application for refugee status when the basis for the claim is diverse sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. The guidelines provide an overview: the basis of the claim (‘fear of persecution or serious harm by state and/or non-state actors due to the person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression’); consideration of issues such as credibility with links to other resources; the reasons under the refugee convention that legitimise the right to claim asylum based on SOGIE; and the basis on which assessors may exclude an application.

The guidelines then discuss the consideration process and how to assess risk of state and non-state maltreatment of the applicant based on the applicant’s SOGIE and reiterates that Iraq does not have laws specifically discriminating against same-sex sexual activity and that evidence suggestions LGBTI people are at risk of mistreatment, the onus is on the application to demonstrate why their particular circumstances would put them at real risk from state actors. The report then considers non-state actors i.e. Daesh/ISIL/ISIS and Shia militia groups in Baghdad. The criteria for successful claims is detailed.

Country information is then provided. The legal context, state attitudes and treatment, reported violence and official responses to anti-LGBTI violence; non-state (Daesh/ISIL/ISIS) attitudes and treatment are discussed. The explicit targeting of same-sex sexual activity by ISIS is noted. A thorough bibliography is provided.

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"The biggest thing you need for any meeting of LGBT people is a safe place"

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These guidelines lay out the process by which Home Office personnel are to determine the legitimacy of an Iraqi citizen’s application for refugee status when the basis for the claim is diverse sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. The guidelines provide an overview: the basis of the claim (‘fear of persecution or serious harm by state and/or non-state actors due to the person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression’); consideration of issues such as credibility with links to other resources; the reasons under the refugee convention that legitimise the right to claim asylum based on SOGIE; and the basis on which assessors may exclude an application.

The guidelines then discuss the consideration process and how to assess risk of state and non-state maltreatment of the applicant based on the applicant’s SOGIE and reiterates that Iraq does not have laws specifically discriminating against same-sex sexual activity and that evidence suggestions LGBTI people are at risk of mistreatment, the onus is on the application to demonstrate why their particular circumstances would put them at real risk from state actors. The report then considers non-state actors i.e. Daesh/ISIL/ISIS and Shia militia groups in Baghdad. The criteria for successful claims is detailed.

Country information is then provided. The legal context, state attitudes and treatment, reported violence and official responses to anti-LGBTI violence; non-state (Daesh/ISIL/ISIS) attitudes and treatment are discussed. The explicit targeting of same-sex sexual activity by ISIS is noted. A thorough bibliography is provided.