New York (dpa) – The UN Security Council discussed violence against
homosexuals committed by the Islamic State extremist group in Syria
and Iraq during an informal meeting Monday, marking the first-ever
council discussion dedicated solely to gay rights.
Organized by the US and Chile, the informal event was attended by 13
of the 15 council members and several other countries with gay rights
activists and victims testifying.
Subhi Nahas, a gay Syrian who was granted asylum in the US, told the
council that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI)
people had faced violence from the Syrian government, but the Islamic
State has increased attacks on them.
“After [the Islamic State] took over, it stepped up the violent
attacks on suspected LGBTI people, publishing images of their
exploits,” he said.
“At the executions, hundreds of townspeople, including children,
cheered jubilantly as at a wedding. If a victim did not die after
being hurled off a building, the townspeople stoned him to death.
This was to be my fate, too.”
Feeling terrified in Syria, Nahas fled to Lebanon and then Turkey.
When he continued to receive death threats in Turkey, he applied for
asylum in the United States. He has lived in San Francisco for three
“I implore you to do everything in your power to give sexual and
gender minorities and other vulnerable refugees safe haven where they
can again know security,” he told Security Council and other UN
After the briefing, Nahas told reporters that the Islamic State
organization advertises itself as the “moral guardians” of
communities trying to rid them of “perverts.”
Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said that at least 30 people have
been executed by Islamic State forces for sodomy and other
Stern said that it was hard to know just how widespread attacks were
because people in the region were afraid to share information and
noted that one of the main sources of information was the Islamic
State group, which posts images of executed LGBTI people on the
Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, said the Security Council’s
meeting on gay rights was “a small but historic step.”
“We’re getting this issue into the DNA of the United Nations,” Power
The Security Council countries not present at the meeting were Angola
and Chad. Four other council members – China, Russia, Nigeria and
Malaysia – were present but did not make any statements.