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Last updated: June 2019*

This profile refers to persons who are perceived as not conforming to social and religious norms because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, including the treatment of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or trans-gender, intersex and queer individuals. However, it should be noted that specific information on some of those communities was not available in the COI reports used for the purpose of this guidance.

COI summary

[Targeting, 3.3; Actors of protection, 9.4]

Iraq has no laws explicitly criminalising consensual same-sex conduct. Nevertheless, there are reports that ‘public indecency’ and ‘prostitution’ provisions are used to prosecute same-sex sexual activity.

Members of the LGBTIQ community generally face severe discrimination in society. There are reports of threats, physical attacks, kidnappings, killings. LGBTIQ individuals have been targeted by ISIL and by some PMU, as well as by the police.

Threats are often by the family of the affected person and by the community. The government generally fails to identify, arrest, or prosecute attackers and to protect targeted individuals.

Risk analysis

The acts to which (perceived) LGBTIQ individuals could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. kidnappings, physical assaults, killings).

Generally, a well-founded fear of persecution would be substantiated for (perceived) LGBTIQ persons.

It has to be noted that an applicant cannot be expected to conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity to avoid persecution.[19]

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that the persecution of this profile is for reasons of membership of a particular social group, based on a shared characteristic which is so fundamental to their identity that they should not be forced to renounce it; and based on a distinct identity of LGBTIQ persons in Iraq, because they are perceived as being different by the surrounding society.[20]


* The wording of this section has been amended to reflect the LGBTIQ terminology. However, no recent common COI has been consulted for the purposes of this update and the information and analysis remain unchanged as from June 2019 when the document was originally published.
[19]  CJEU, Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel v X and Y and Z v Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel, joined cases C-199/12 to C-201/12 judgment of 7 November 2013, paras. 70-76 (X and Y and Z). [back to text]
[20] CJEU, X, Y and Z, paras. 45-49. [back to text]