Target: Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria
Goal: Call on the protection of gay men from discrimination in Syria
As the civil war in Syria wages on it may seem wrong to highlight the experiences of a single group of people. Yet, an increasing number of men in Syria face a particularly dire situation because of their sexual orientation. Not only are gay men being targeted and persecuted by the Syrian army and militant groups, but they are also being hunted, rejected and killed by their own families.
According to Human Rights Watch homosexuals in Syria are being targeted, tortured and imprisoned due to the country’s upholding of a discriminatory clause in its constitution which demands a three-year sentence for “carnal knowledge against the order of nature.” While the ensuing civil war did not give rise to homophobia the violence has, however, increased the surveillance, capture and imprisonment of gay men, as well as perpetuated public exposure.
Over 19 gay Syrian men (Syrian lesbians are an extremely closeted culture and virtually undetectable) were interviewed by Human Rights Watch and divulged the unthinkable ordeals and hate crimes that happen in Syrian prisons and detention camps. One couple, identified as gay due to the infiltration of text messages by Syrian government surveillance, was forced to strip and have sex multiple times with each other in front of Syrian army interrogators while they were beaten and referred to derogatorily. Another man recounts being detained by Syrian officers, degraded by a slue of pejoratives and raped.
As if torture, rape and humiliation weren’t enough, many gay men in Syria also face ostracism as they are hunted by homophobic family members, outed to armed Islamist groups and forced to flee to Lebanon for protection. A 30-year-old teacher’s life partner was slain by his own brother after his family learned of his sexual orientation. And, a 38-year-old baker had his name given to Islamist militants after his family learned that he was gay. The man also told HRW that he’s been in hiding for almost a decade.
With all of the turmoil, violent deaths and overall depravity occurring in Syria, President al-Assad insists on running for a third term, with no end in sight for the disparaging civil war that has torn apart families, killed nearly 150,000 people and displaced countless others — a war that is now targeting gay men and subjecting them to horrific acts of torture. Sign the petition to stop discrimination against gay men in Syria and protect them from further prejudice.
Dear President Bashar al-Assad,
The civil war in Syria is responsible for the deaths of over 150,000 people, has torn apart families and is now advocating ‘honor killings‘ of an innumerable amount of gay men. The injustices performed under your rule have take a turn for the absolutely worse as these homosexual men are persecuted, raped, publicly humiliated, tortured and forced to flee to Lebanon — where they face more homophobia, displacement and prejudice.
Gay men are being physically and verbally abused, executed, accused of crimes that they can’t defend themselves of and stalked by their own families that learn of their sexual orientations and choose to ostracize them or, worse yet, kill them. You’ve turned a prolonged blind eye to the disparities and turmoil happening in Syria and yet you still think it honorable to rule for another seven years.
I demand that homosexuals in Syria, especially men, cease to be targeted for crimes that are in direct violation of Human Rights Law. No one should be subjected to the rampant homophobia and degradation that Syrian militants and Islamist groups are inflicting on these innocent men. Gay rights are human rights and you should be eternally ashamed for allowing these crimes to ensue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Darwinek via wikimedia