Air strikes ‘will make things worse’ for persecuted LGBT people in Syria, MP warns

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A Scottish National Party MP has warned that the UK joining a bombing campaign in Syria will “make things worse” for persecuted LGBT people in the country.

The House of Commons last night gave approvals to take military action against the terrorist group known as Islamic State in Syria, following last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

As part of its continued campaign of terror, the group has publicly executed hundreds of men accused of homosexuality, by stoning and throwing them off buildings.

The government had gone to Parliament to seek approval for a motion calling for air strikes in Syria, passing by a vote of 397 to 223, despite opposition from the majority of Labour MPs, and the Scottish National Party.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell warned that the decision could make things worse for already-persecuted LGBT people in the country.

She said: “We must think about the human cost on the ground, in particular among vulnerable groups, such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, which we have not talked about and which is being persecuted.

“Those communities are already being persecuted and further bombing will only make the situation worse.”

The persecution of gay people was raised by both the Prime Minister and Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn in calling for action.

David Cameron said: “Let us be clear: people will not return to Syria if part of it is under the control of an organisation that enslaves Yazidis, throws gay people off buildings, beheads aid workers, and forces children to marry before they are even ten years old.

“We cannot separate the humanitarian work from dealing with Daesh itself.”

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn said: “No one in the debate doubts the deadly serious threat that we face from Daesh and what it does, although we sometimes find it hard to live with the reality.

“In June, four gay men were thrown off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. In August, the 82-year-old guardian of the antiquities of Palmyra, Professor Khaled al-Asaad, was beheaded, and his headless body was hung from a traffic light.

“In recent weeks, mass graves in Sinjar have been discovered, one said to contain the bodies of older Yazidi women murdered by Daesh because they were judged too old to be sold for sex.
Air strikes ‘will make things worse’ for persecuted LGBT people in Syria, MP warns
“When one of our key allies has been attacked, our freedoms, liberties and beliefs are at risk. When women are raped, children killed, gay people thrown off roofs and Christians decapitated, can we seriously stand by and watch this atrocity happen from afar? We absolutely have to act now.”