The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for executing at least 30 people accused of sodomy, the head of an international gay rights organization told the U.N. Security Council on Monday.
The executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Jessica Stern, said that courts established by ISIL claim to have punished sodomy with stoning, firing squads, beheadings and by pushing people from tall buildings.
"In addition to men perceived as gay, trans-identified people and lesbians are among those who have been raped and killed," Stern said.
Stern, who addressed the issue at the council’s first-ever meeting on LGBT rights, says fear of the group, which controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, has fueled violence by other armed groups and "private actors" against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals.
"It's about time, 70 years after the creation of the U.N., that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking center stage," said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who organized the meeting on violence and discrimination against LGBT people with Chile’s U.N. envoy, Cristian Barros Melet.
Stern called for specific strategies to combat LGBT attacks, including U.N. action to relocate those most in need and bringing the gay community into broader human rights and humanitarian initiatives.
In a note to council members provided to the Associated Press, Power and Melet said the objective of the meeting was to hear first-hand details of attacks against LGBT people and the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security "through its targeting of groups most susceptible to attack.”
Power said the meeting was open to all 193 U.N. member states because there is significant interest in ISIL’s brutality and "in ensuring that LGBT people are not targeted on the basis of their sexual orientation."
Among those invited to speak were an Iraqi and Syrian who were targeted by the armed group for being gay; as well as representatives from groups that advocate for LGBT rights.
According to meeting notes, the U.S. and Chile charged ISIL with carrying out extrajudicial executions of gay people.
"Most recently, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported last month that ISIL attackers dropped two men from a building in Palmyra, Syria, and then stoned them to death," the note said.
Gay rights groups hailed the meeting as important for both human rights and international security. However, attendance was not required, and it was unclear which council members were present.
“By convening this meeting, Ambassadors Power and Melet have made clear that these human rights abuses against LGBT people are not only deeply heinous and inhumane, but also a matter of utmost importance to global security,” Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, said in a release.
HRC said it was particularly shocked by ISIL’s release on Twitter of videos documenting the public execution of four gay men on June 26, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court made gay marriage legal.
Al Jazeera and wire services