U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power spoke at an unprecedented screening of the new Logo documentary Out In Iraq at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on Thursday.
Directed by Eva Orner and Chris McKim, Out In Iraq tells the story of an Iraqi soldier and a translator for the U.S. military who fell in love, and how they were torn apart for years when one becomes the target of an honor killing.
The film tracks the couple’s struggle in seeking refugee status through the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and shows how the long process can be devastating or even deadly.
At the screening, hosted by Logo, World of Wonder the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Power put emphasis on the fact that LGBT refugees abroad aren’t relocated with a sense of urgency even though they could be killed by members of their own communities.
“LGBTI rights and the rights of migrants are among the most pressing human rights issues of our time,” she said. “LGBTI rights are human rights. LGBTI rights are essential rights — end of story.”
Nayyef Hrebid and Btoo Allami, the subjects of Out In Iraq, spoke about the importance of the film on a panel moderated by Omar Sharif Jr. Others on the dais included Michael Failla, a refugee advocate who helped the couple, Sean Eldridge of OutRight Action International and Christine Matthews, Deputy Director of the UNHCR.
Wow wow. Just saw a film about these men and was lucky enough to meet them. Nayyef Hrebid met Btoo Allami when they were enlisted in the Iraqi army during the war. The story of their love will break your heart and put it back together again. Amazing new documentary shown at The UN tonight. Find it and watch it!! It's called… OUT OF IRAQ ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ showing on Logo June 13. Amazing work by filmmakers and producers including @logotv @randybarbato @burnspookybunny @fentonjbailey #outofiraq #lgbtq #iraq #humanrights #refugeesarewelcome #love #gay #cuties #brave #soldiers #unhcr
Tonight these heroes addressed a packed room at the @unitednations with the US ambassador and called for protections for #LGBT people living in the Middle East. Check out Nayyef & Btoo's unforgettable story in #OutofIraq Monday on @logotv and thanks to @omarsharifjr for adding grace, smarts and charisma to a truly historic UN panel discussion. #globalally #showyourpride
Stressing the difference between cultures, Hrebid told the audience “we cannot be ourselves back in Iraq because we are shunned by our families. They call us ’shameful’ but for us, it’s just who we are.”
He added: “We need to help a new generation accept the LGBT community.”
Out of Iraq premieres Monday, June 13, at 9pm on Logo.