Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank and Jared Polis have sent a letter to the newly-confirmed U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, urging him to work with Iraqi officials to end violence against the country’s LGBT population.
Earlier, Iraqi chargé d’affaires Patricia Butenis, responded to a request by Polis to investigate and report back on claims by international human rights organizations that men and boys had been targeted and killed because they were either openly gay or suspected of being gay. Butenis denied any government involvement in the killings, saying outlaw militia groups were likely responsible for the violence.
The Advocate, which has been following the story, reported:
Brian Branton, Polis’s chief of staff, said the information was a step forward after the Iraqi ministry had originally called the militia charges “unfounded.” “We were glad to hear that acknowledgment in her letter because in earlier conversations with the state department they had not owned up to that,” Branton said of Iraqi officials.