The UN Security Council will hold a meeting to discuss Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacks on sexual minorities in what will be the first ever council meeting focused on gay rights.
The United States ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power told reporters on Thursday that the informal meeting will highlight “ISIL and its systematic targeting of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) persons who find themselves in ISIL-controlled territory.”
The US and Chile will host the meeting which will be open to all member-states interested in the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people persecuted by the armed group.
“This will be a historic meeting. It will be the first Security Council meeting on LGBT rights,” Power told reporters.
UN envoys will hear accounts from Adnan, an Iraqi who fled northern Iraq after being targeted as gay, Syrian Subhi Nahas, who was also threatened and Jessica Stern, the director of the International Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission.
ISIL declared a Caliphate in the vast swaths of territory it has seized across Iraq and Syria after taking the Iraqi city of Mosul in June 2014. It has also gained footholds in Libya, Yemen, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The United Nations and civil rights groups say the fighters have been known to rape and kill women, recruit child soldiers and attack religious minorities.
The United States and Chile have also said in a note outlining the meeting that ISIL “has targeted one particular community with seeming impunity and scant international attention: LGBT individuals and those perceived to be LGBT.”
In December, ISIL posted photographs online showing members throwing a man off a rooftop and then stoning him to death due to his sexual orientation. Two men were also reportedly stoned to death in Syria in November after declaring that they were gay.
Power noted that the ISIL attacks on people who identify as gay had been well-documented. The group has posted online at least eight visual reports of such killings.
It remains unclear how many countries with anti-gay laws will attend the meeting, but Power said that she expected a good turnout.