28/03/2013 Latest Reports

March 2013 report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran


Human Rights Council
Twenty-second session
Agenda item 4
28 February 2013

Full report PDF with Annex

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran*
(Advance Unedited Draft)


The present report is the second to be submitted to the Human Rights Council, pursuant to Council resolution 16/9, and communicates developments in the human rights situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran that have transpired since the submission of the Special Rapporteur’s second interim report to the 67th session of the General Assembly (A/67/369) in October 2012.

The present report outlines the Special Rapporteur’s activities since the Council’s renewal of his mandate during its 22nd session , examines ongoing issues, and presents some of the most recent and pressing developments in the country’s human rights situation. Although the report is not exhaustive, it provides a picture of the prevailing situation as observed in the preponderance of reports submitted to and examined by the Special Rapporteur. It is envisaged that a number of important issues not covered in the present report will be addressed in the Special Rapporteur’s future reports to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.


I. Introduction
II. Situation of human rights
A. Free and fair elections
B. Freedom of expression, association, assembly
C. Human rights defenders
D. Torture
E. Executions
F. Women’s rights
G. Ethnic Minorities
H. Religious minorities
I. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community
J. Socioeconomic rights
III. Conclusions and Recommendations


I. Introduction

1. The Special Rapporteur concludes in this report that there continue to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Reports communicated by nongovernmental organisations, human rights defenders, and individuals concerning violations of their human rights or the rights of others continue to present a situation in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice.  Moreover, a lack of Government investigation and redress generally fosters a culture of impunity, further weakening the impact of the human rights instruments Iran has ratified.

2. The Special Rapporteur continues to seek the cooperation of the Iranian Government in order to engage in a constructive dialogue and to fully assess the allegations of human rights violations. He regrets that it has been not possible for him to have a more cooperative and consultative relationship with the Iranian Government. He communicated his desire to visit the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to engage in dialogue and to further investigate the veracity of allegations of human rights violations most recently on 9 May 2012. However, the Government remains reticent on this engagement and his request.

3. The Special Rapporteur has also collaborated with a number of other Special Procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council to transmit three Allegation Letters, 25 Urgent Appeals, and 7 joint press statements in 2012. In addition to these communications, he has written to the Government on two separate occasions to express his concern about the ongoing house arrest of opposition leaders, as well as about restrictions on women’s access to education.

4. The Special Rapporteur has continued to complement the vast number of reports submitted by non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders through interviews with primary sources located inside and outside the country.  In this regard, 409 interviews have been conducted since the beginning of his mandate, 169 of which were conducted from September to December 2012 and submitted for this report.

5. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur wishes to report two reprisal cases that have been reported in the media in November and December 2012, in accordance with resolution 12/2, which called on representatives and mechanisms to report on allegations of intimidation or reprisal.[1]  In one case, three Afghan nationals, Mr Mohammad Nour-Zehi, Mr Abdolwahab Ansari, and Mr Massoum Ali Zehi, were reportedly tortured and threatened with hanging for allegedly submitting a list of executed Afghans to the Special Rapporteur.[2]

6. Other reports have maintained that five Kurdish prisoners located in Orumiyeh Prison, Mr Ahmad Tamouee, Mr Yousef Kakeh Meimi, Mr Jahangir Badouzadeh, Mr Ali Ahmad Soleiman, and Mr Mostafa Ali Ahmad, have been charged with “contacting the office of the Special Rapporteur” “reporting prison news to human rights organisations,” “propaganda against the system inside prison,” and “contacting Nawroz TV”.[3]  The prisoners were reportedly detained in solitary confinement for two months, interrogated about contact with the Special Rapporteur, and severely tortured for the purpose of soliciting confessions about their contact with the Special Procedure.

7. The Special Rapporteur is alarmed by these reports and joins the Human Rights Council and Secretary-General in condemning “all acts of intimidation or reprisal against individuals that cooperate with the human rights instruments.”[4] He wishes to emphasize the right of individuals to cooperate with the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, and underscores the fact that such cooperation is integral to their ability to fulfill their mandates.

8. The Special Rapporteur takes note of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s general observations on the present report[5], appreciates engagement through such responses, and continues to hope for direct engagement, as these observations should not preclude such cooperation.  Comments forwarded by the Iranian government primarily express concern over (a) the Special Rapporteur’s working methodology; (b) the credibility of his sources of information; (c) his assertions about the Government’s cooperation with the human rights mechanisms; and (c) his conclusions that allegations of violations of human rights reported to him demonstrate a need for Government investigation and remedy.

9. The Special Rapporteur has outlined his methodology on several prior occasions, and asserts the highest standards of both rigor and consistency in its application at all times. He notes that evidence and testimonies submitted to him have been assessed for compliance with the non-judicial evidentiary standards required of his mandate, that sources are cited appropriately and copiously, whenever possible, that only allegations that are cross-verified and consistently leveled by various sources are presented, and that his findings are in full compliance with protocol stipulated by the UN system. Names of sources are omitted whenever requested, as required by the Special Rapporteur’s Code of Conduct.

10. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur has referenced periodic reports recently submitted to the treaty bodies by the Iranian government throughout his report, but maintains that participation or pledges made in such fora do not on their own substitute for concretely addressing and rectifying concerns raised by the human rights instruments.  He also continues to underscore the fact that despite its standing invitation, several requests to visit the country remain outstanding, and that no visit has been granted to any Special Procedure mandate-holder since 2005.

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II. Situation of human rights

A. Free and fair elections

11. The Special Rapporteur recalls Human Rights Committee General Comment No. 25, which states that article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) “recognises and protects the right of every citizen to take part in the conduct of public affairs, the right to vote and to be elected and the right to have access to public service.”[6] The right shall be enjoyed and ensured without unreasonable restrictions.  Any conditions on this right must be “based on objective and reasonable criteria” without distinction of any kind, including race, gender, religion, and political or other opinion.[7] The Special Rapporteur is concerned that significant and unreasonable limitations placed on the right of Iranian citizens to stand for Presidential office undermine their right to “participate in the conduct of public affairs through freely chosen representatives” who “are accountable through the electoral process for their exercise of that power”.[8]

12. The Iranian Government reported that under its Constitution, candidates for the office of President must be “political-religious men” and faithful believers in the “foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and official religion of the country”.[9] Women are therefore excluded from the Presidency and no female candidate has been approved by the Guardian Council in the 34 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The Iranian Constitution also deprives citizens who hold political opinions contrary to that of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the country’s official religion of the right to stand for President. The General Comment on article 25 is clear that “political opinion may not be used as a ground to deprive any person of the right to stand for election”.[10]

13. On 11 February 2013, the Special Rapporteur joined the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association in a statement urging the Iranian government to immediately and unconditionally release former 2009 Presidential candidates Mr. Mehdi Karoubi and Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, and hundreds of other prisoners of conscience who remain in prison for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, or freedom of association and assembly during protests following the 2009 Presidential election.  The Special Rapporteurs underscored the fact that the two opposition leaders have not been charged with a crime since their arrest, and that in its August 2012 Opinion, the Working Group on arbitrary detention confirmed that Mr Mousavi and Mr Karoubi, are subject to arbitrary detention by the Iranian Government contrary to article 9 of the ICCPR.[11] In the case of Mr Mousavi and Mr Karoubi it was reported that the Iranian Chief Prosecutor suggested that the opposition leaders repent and make full restitution for transgressions against the Government and State in order to participate in the 2013 Presidential election.[12]

14. The Special Rapporteur is further concerned that the Iranian Government has not established an independent electoral authority as indicated in General Comment 25 “to supervise the electoral process and to ensure that it is conducted fairly, impartially and in accordance with established laws which are compatible with the Covenant”. [13] He is also concerned about the availability of information and materials on voting in minority languages in Iran.[14]  Lastly, the Special Rapporteur recalls, more broadly, that freedom of expression, assembly and association “are essential conditions for the effective exercise of the right to vote and must be fully protected”.[15] Reports of statements by Iranian officials issuing warnings against those citizens who call for a ‘free election’ and suggesting these calls are conspiratorial and inimical to the Iranian State or the principle of velayat-madari  (obedience to the Supreme Leader)[16] undermine the full enjoyment of article 25 which requires “the free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates and elected representatives”.

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B. Freedom of expression, association, assembly

1. Journalists and netizens

15. The Special Rapporteur remains concerned over the continued arrest, detention, and prosecution of dozens of journalists and netizens under provisions in Iran’s 1986 Press Law, which contains 17 categories of “impermissible” content.  The Special Rapporteur joined the independent expert on freedom of opinion and expression, human rights defenders, and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention on 4 February 2013 in calling on Iran to immediately halt the recent spate of arrests of journalists and to release those already detained following the arrest of at least 17 journalists, the majority of whom work for independent news outlets. The group of human rights experts underscored their fear that the 17 arrests carried-out were part of a broader campaign to crack-down on independent journalists and media outlets, under the accusation that they have collaborated with ‘anti-revolutionary’ foreign media outlets and human rights organisations.

16. Prior to the aforementioned arrests, 45 journalists were detained in Iran.[17] All five journalists interviewed about their arrests and prosecution for this report maintained that they did not face public trials-by-jury, in accordance with the country’s Press Law. Two journalists reported that they were arbitrarily detained without charges and without ever facing a trial; one journalist was allegedly detained for several months and finally released with a verbal warning, and the other was reportedly detained for three years, without charges or a trial, and were finally released on bail. Two female journalists also reported serious sexual harassment while in detention.

17. Furthermore, netizen Mr Mehdi Khazali began serving a 14-year sentence for criticising the Government on his freelance blog in October 2012; Mr Alireza Roshan, a reporter for the reformist Shargh publication began serving a one-year prison sentence in November 2012; Ms Zhila Bani-Yaghoub, editor of the Iranian Women’s Club website, began serving a one-year term on charges of “propagating against the system” and “insulting the president”, and her husband, journalist Mr Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, is serving a five-year sentence on “anti-state charges”.[18]

18. The Special Rapporteur also remains concerned by reports detailing the harassment of family members of journalists who live and work abroad. In a public statement, 104 journalists called for an end to the harassment and intimidation of their family members for the purpose of placing pressure on journalists to discontinue their work with such news agencies as BBC Persian, VOA, and Radio Farda.  One journalist interviewed for this report, for example, maintained that the passports of two of her family members were confiscated, and that the family was threatened with the seizure of its property if the journalist persisted with her work.[19]

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C. Human rights defenders

19. Interviews continue to impart that human rights defenders are subjected to harassment, arrest, interrogation, and torture, and that they are frequently charged with vaguely-defined national security crimes.[20] A preponderance of human rights defenders interviewed for this report maintained that they were arrested in the absence of a warrant, and subjected to physical and psychological duress during interrogations for the purpose of soliciting signed and televised confessions. A majority of interviewees reported that they were kept in solitary confinement for periods ranging from one day to almost one year, were denied access to legal counsel of their choice, subjected to unfair trials, and in some cases, subjected to severe physical torture, rape (both of males and females, by both male and female officials), electro-shock, hanging by hands or arms, and/or forced body contortion.

20. In April 2012, Ms Narges Mohammadi, a co-founder of the Centre for Human Rights Defense (CHRD), founded by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Ms Shirin Ebadi, began to serve a six-year prison sentence for “assembly and collusion against national security”, “membership in the Center for Human Rights Defenders”, and “propaganda against the system.”[21] It was reported that Ms. Mohammadi was arrested and taken to Evin Prison, where she was held in solitary confinement for days. On 11 June 2012, Ms. Mohammadi was transferred, without explanation, to an unsegregated ward in Zanjan Prison. Ms. Mohammadi suffers from muscular paralysis[22]and seizures, and was released on 31 July 2012 on medical furlough.  However, her sentence remains in place and she can therefore be re-incarcerated at any time.

1. Lawyers

21. The Special Rapporteur continues to share the International Bar Association’s concerns regarding the erosion of the independence of the legal profession and Bar Association in the Islamic Republic of Iran.[23]  Legislative action such as the approval of the draft Bill of Formal Attorneyship, which increases Government supervision over the Iranian Bar Association, is a case-in-point. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned by article 187 of the Law of the Third Economic, Social and Cultural Development Plan, which has created a parallel body of lawyers known as “Legal Advisors of the Judiciary”.  While the law has seemingly increased the number of legal professionals in the country, partly through a less onerous licensing process, the Judiciary ultimately controls the licensing process of all article 187 legal advisors.  The Special Rapporteur has also received reports about the revocation of the licenses of article 187 legal advisers after they represented prisoners of conscience.

22. Furthermore, the Law on Conditions for Obtaining the Attorney’s License allows Bar members to elect members of their Board of Directors, but requires the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges, a body under the Judiciary’s authority, to confer with the Ministry of Intelligence, the Revolutionary Court and the Police to vet potential candidates for its Board. Some Iranian lawyers have reported that, in practice, candidates who represent human rights defenders have been prohibited from seeking Board membership as a result.

23. The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by reports of Government action targeting lawyers. It is estimated that some 40 lawyers have been prosecuted since 2009, and that at least 10 are currently detained, including Mr. Abdolfatah Soltani, and Mr Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. Mr Soltani was arrested in September 2011 and is currently serving a 13 year prison sentence.On 29 September 2012, Mr Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer and co-founder of the CHRD was summoned to Evin Prison’s Ward 350 to serve a nine-year sentence after being convicted of “membership in an association seeking the overthrow of the Government” and “spreading propaganda against the system through interviews with foreign media”.[24] Mr. Dadkhakh was one the attorneys for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was exonerated and released from prison weeks earlier after being placed on trial for apostasy.

24. On 17 October 2012, Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights defender and lawyer, who has been imprisoned since September 2010, began a hunger strike to protest restrictive conditions placed on members of her family, including a travel ban placed on her 12-year-old daughter in June 2012. Ms Sotoudeh has defended, among others, Shirin Ebadi. She ended her hunger strike on 4 December 2012 when the travel ban was lifted. Ms Sotoudeh was temporarily released on a three day leave on 17 January 2013 to see her family, allegedly with a promise of extending her leave into a longer or permanent release. She was subsequently returned to Evin Prison on 21 January 2013. [25]

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D. Torture

25. The Special Rapporteur expressed concern about reports of widespread use of torture in his report to the 67th session of the General Assembly.  He further reported that 78% of individuals who reported violations of their due process rights also reported that they were beaten during interrogations for the purpose of soliciting confessions, that their reports of torture and ill-treatment were ignored by judicial authorities, and that their coerced confessions were used against them despite these complaints.

26. In response to this report, the Iranian government maintained that allegations of torture in the country are baseless since the country’s laws forbid the use of torture and the use of evidence solicited under duress.  However, the Special Rapporteur continues to maintain that the existence of these legal safeguards does not in itself invalidate allegations of torture, and does not remove the obligation to thoroughly investigate such allegations. He further emphasises that widespread impunity and allegations of the use of confessions solicited under duress as evidence continue to contribute to the prevalence of torture.

27. On 15 November 2012, the Special Rapporteur joined the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in calling on the Government to investigate the death of Iranian blogger, Mr Sattar Beheshti.  Mr. Beheshti was reportedly arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police Unit on 30 October 2012 on charges of “actions against national security on social networks and Facebook.”  His family was reportedly summoned to collect his body seven days later.  During an interview for this report, an informed source communicated that Mr. Beheshti was tortured for the purpose of retrieving his Facebook user name and password, that he was repeatedly threatened with death during his interrogation, and that he was beaten in the face and torso with a baton.  The source also stated that Mr. Beheshti reported chest pain to other prisoners and that authorities were made aware of his complaints, but no action was taken. A domestic report released in January 2013 by the Majles’ National Security and Foreign Policy Commission criticized the Tehran Cyber Crimes Police Unit for holding Mr. Beheshti in its own (unrecognised) detention center, but fell short of alleging direct wrongdoing in his death or of calling for an investigation into the apparent widespread maintenance of illegal detention centers, operated by branches of Intelligence services, in contravention of Iranian law.[26]

28. The Special Rapporteur is further troubled by media reports that the memorial service for Mr. Beheshti was raided by security agents who beat and arrested members of his family, as well as a number of attendees.  It was further reported that five security officers beat and dragged Mr. Beheshti’s elderly mother by her hair, and that his brother, Asghar Beheshti, was also arrested and detained for two hours.[27]

29. It was also reported that in late October 2012, the home of Jamil Sowaidi was raided, and that he was detained by plainclothes officers claiming to be members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Frequent attempts by Mr. Sowaidi’s family to inquire about his whereabouts were reportedly rebuffed by authorities. On 6 November, authorities reportedly confirmed that Mr. Sowaidi had died in custody and advised his family not to pursue the case. The family’s request for an autopsy was reportedly denied, and Mr. Sowaidi was buried on 8 November 2012.  The Special Rapporteur strongly urges the Government to conduct a comprehensive and transparent investigation into Mr. Sowaidi’s death, and encourages it to take measures to remedy the matter, in accordance with international standards.[28]

30. Of the 169 interviews conducted for this report, 81 cases of reported detention were examined for allegations of torture.  It was found that approximately 76% of interviewees reported allegations of torture; 56% reported physical torture, including rape and sexual abuse; and 71% of those interviewed reported psychological torture.  In an effort to further investigate the methods of torture reported by interviewees, the Special Rapporteur examined a study on Iran performed by one of the world’s largest torture treatment centres, which investigates and forensically documents evidence of torture in accordance with Istanbul Protocol standards.[29]  Data collected was both quantitative and qualitative, detailing “history of detention, specific torture disclosures and the forensic documentation of the physical and psychological consequences of torture.”[30] The medical-legal evidence presented in this study appears to be consistent with a substantial number of statements submitted to the Special Rapporteur in which allegations of torture were reported.

31. The study examines 50 of some 5,000 documented cases of torture reported by Iranians to the centre since 1985. Twenty-nine of the individuals whose cases were examined for this study were detained in 2009, 14 in 2010 and seven in 2011.  Fifty-six percent of the cases were detained only once in 2009-2011, while 44% were detained more than once and up to three times before leaving Iran.

32. The study concluded that methods of physical torture described in the 50 cases included: “blunt force trauma including beating, whipping and assault” (100% of cases). The study found that the “main forms of blunt force trauma consisted of repeated and sustained assault by kicking, punching, slapping and of beatings with a variety of blunt instruments including truncheons, cables, whips, batons, plastic pipes, metal bars, gun butts, belts and handcuffs. People reported being assaulted or beaten on all parts of the body, though most commonly on the head and face, arms and legs and back. Most were blindfolded while beaten and many were restrained, meaning they were unable to defend or protect themselves.”

33. The study further found the following methods of torture prevalent among the cases reviewed: sexual torture including rape, molestation, violence to genitals and penetration with an instrument (60% of cases); suspension and stress positions (64%); use of water (32%); sharp force trauma including use of blades, needles and fingernails (18%); burns (12%); electric shock (10%); asphyxiation (10%); and pharmacological or chemical torture (8%). Of the cases sampled, 60% of females and 23% of males reported rape.”

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E. Executions

34. The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by the escalating rate of executions, especially in the absence of fair trial standards, and the application of capital punishment for offences that do not meet “most serious crimes” standards, in accordance with international law.  This includes alcohol consumption, adultery, and drug-trafficking.  It has been reported that some 297 executions were officially announced by the Government, and that approximately 200 “secret executions” have been acknowledged by family members, prison officials, and/or members of the Judiciary, making a likely total of between 489 and 497 executions during 2012.[31]

35. It has been reported that at least 58 public executions were carried out this year.  The Special Rapporteur joins the High Commissioner for Human Rights in condemning the use of public executions “despite a circular issued in January 2008 by the head of the judiciary that banned public executions”.  He also joins the Secretary-General’s view that “executions in public add to the already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty and can only have a dehumanising effect on the victim and a brutalising effect on those who witness the execution.”[32]  The Special Rapporteur also remains concerned that provisions in the new Penal Code, while not yet adopted, seemingly broaden the scope of crimes punishable by death.

36. On 22 October 2012, Mr Saeed Sedighi, a Tehran-based shop-owner, was executed along with nine others on drug-trafficking charges,[33] despite calls on 12 October 2012 by three Special Procedures mandate holders to halt the executions.[34] The Government has yet to respond to due process-related queries, including to allegations that Mr. Sedighi was not permitted adequate access to a lawyer or allowed to defend himself during his trial. These rights are guaranteed by article 14 of the ICCPR, as well as articles 32 and 34-39 of the Iranian Constitution and by the country’s Law of Respecting Legitimate Freedoms and Citizenship Rights (2004), which determines criminal procedure and defines fair trial standards.

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F. Women’s rights

37. Reported statistics demonstrate that the Islamic Republic of Iran has made remarkable advances in literacy, access to education for women, and women’s health during the past 30 years. Literacy and primary school enrollment rates for women and girls are estimated at more than 99% and 100% respectively, and gender disparity in secondary and tertiary education is reportedly almost nonexistent.[35] Statistics also indicate that women have experienced improved access to primary health care.  The maternal mortality rate is estimated at 24.6 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, and skilled attendance during delivery is 94.5 percent; which places Iran in the “on track” category towards the MDG to improve maternal health.[36]

38. Moreover, the country’s 5th National Development Plan (NDP) calls for “focusing on the needs and the creation of constructive opportunities for women and youth”.  The NDP also refers to principles of equal pay for women and the expansion of social support for “ensuring equal opportunities for men and women and empowerment of women through access to suitable job opportunities”.[37] Several programs aimed at advancing these goals have reportedly been developed, including a scheme to generate “at home” employment for women.  The Chairman of the Parliament’s (Majlis) Health and Treatment Commission also recently announced the extension of maternity leave from six months to nine months, along with two weeks’ mandatory leave for fathers.[38]

39. Gender-based disparities in economic participation and political empowerment remain problematic however, and some recent developments threaten to reverse the aforementioned achievements in education.[39] These include unsuccessful legislative attempts to reinforce polygamy and reduce work hours for women, as well as current policy proposals that discriminate against women in education and further limit their civil rights, which are discussed below.

World Economic Forum: The Gender Gap Reports: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012[40]

1. International obligations

40. In 1993, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) noted that Iran’s obligation to ensure equal opportunity for women warranted particular attention, especially in relation to the rights to education, work, and family related rights. In 2006, authorities partially agreed to the implementation of recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women following her visit to the country.  This includes the agreement to reform discriminatory provisions in the country’s penal and civil laws, especially with regard to women’s equal rights in marriage and access to justice. In February 2010, the Iranian Government also received and accepted eight of the 13 recommendations that relate to women’s rights during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

41. In its second periodic report to the CESCR, which will be reviewed during the Committee’s 50th session in April/May 2013, the Iranian Government discussed its program to revise “existing rules and regulations” with an aim to advancing women’s participation, raising public awareness about their “qualifications”, and enhancing their skills.[41] The Government also maintained that women’s affairs have received “special attention in the economic, social, cultural and political development plans of the country”, commensurate with its view that “men and women equally enjoy the protection of the law, and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria”.[42]  In qualifying this position, Government representatives have asserted that while it is believed that “men and women are equal in human dignity and human rights, this is not to be confused with equating men and women’s role in family, society, and in the development process”.[43]

42. This viewpoint is further elaborated upon in Iran’s “Charter on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities; adopted in 2004. According to its preamble, the Charter was developed in line with the view that “there are various traditions and perspectives regarding women’s rights based on their different cultures”. The Charter, therefore, specifies those rights the Government believes belong to both genders, and emphasises those rights it asserts to be specific to women based on their “physical and psychological” differences.[44]

43. In light of this viewpoint, the Special Rapporteur joins the statement transmitted by the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms. Farida Shaheed, which asserts that while the tendency to view culture as an impediment to women’s rights is “both over simplistic and problematic”, “many practices and norms that discriminate against women are justified by reference to culture, religion and tradition”.[45]  In this respect, the Special Rapporteur maintains that the aforementioned emphasis on gender roles places limitations on the Iranian Government’s obligation to protect women’s full enjoyment of their civil, political, social, cultural, and economic rights.  He asserts that this view arbitrarily qualifies the degree to which women may enjoy these rights as that which the Government perceives to be in conformity with Islamic criteria.  The Special Rapporteur further maintains that this particular argument undermines the notion of universal rights, and compromises the rights protected by the ICCPR and the ICESCR for virtually half of the Iranian population.

2. Socioeconomic rights

44. The educational attainment of Iranian women is not yet reflected in their current economic status. Statistics demonstrate that a significant gender disparity continues to exist in their participation in the labor market, and women still only occupy a small percentage of senior managerial positions.  It was reported that compared to the global labour force, 52%, only 32% of Iranian women are actively engaged in the labour market, compared to 73% of men.[46]

45. The Special Rapporteur maintains that certain legal limitations placed on women’s employment, coupled with recent revisions of laws that impact their socioeconomic rights, severely weaken the Government’s ability to promote gender equality and to make progress on those recommendations communicated by the CESCR in 1993, and during the 2010 UPR.  These limitations include Article 1117 of Iran’s Civil Code, which provides men with the right to legally prohibit their wives from engaging in work outside the home if they can prove that the work is incompatible with the family’s interests.  It was reported that members of the Majlis recently proposed four articles that require women to be married in order to become members of a university’s scientific committee, or to be employed at the Ministry of Education and Training. The speaker of the Parliament’s Social Commission reported that the preconditions have not yet been approved.[47]

46. In June 2012, the Science and Technology Ministry announced that women sitting for the national entrance exam would be prohibited from enrollment in 77 fields of study at 36 public universities across the country.[48]  It was reported that female enrollment in hundreds of courses offered during the 2012-2013 academic year at Iranian public universities was substantially restricted, including in courses on petroleum engineering, data management, communications, emergency medical technology, mechanical engineering, law, political sciences, policing, social sciences, and religious studies. [49] Furthermore, policies to enforce gender segregation provide “single-gendered” university majors for alternating semesters in lieu of entirely banning access to either male or female candidates.[50] In response to criticism from Iranian parliamentarians who called for an explanation, the  Science and Higher Education Minister responded that 90% of degrees still remain open to both sexes, that single-sex courses were needed to create “balance”, and that “some fields are not very suitable for women’s nature”. In light of Iran’s international obligations under the ICESCR and the country’s Constitution, the Special Rapporteur urges the Government to review policies that could be discriminatory and set back the progress it has achieved in women’s education.

3. The right to freedom of movement

47. A married woman may not obtain a passport or leave the country without her husband’s written permission.  In November 2012 the Chair of the Parliament’s (Majlis) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission announced an amendment to the country’s passport laws that would require unmarried women under age 40 and males under the age of 18 to acquire the consent of their guardian or the ruling of a sharia judge in order to acquire a passport.[51] Although this amendment was finally rejected, it was reported that the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Parliament (Majlis) announced further amendments to the passport bill which would continue to allow single women over the age of 18 to obtain a passport without the aforementioned permission, but would now require them to obtain permission from their father or guardian from the paternal line in order to leave the country.[52]

48. In defence of the amendments, the Chair of the Parliament’s (Majlis) National Security Commission reportedly stated that the Government frequently receives requests by single women to travel outside of the country, particularly for pilgrimage, and that this prompted the Government to institute policies that would ensure their health and safety  .[53]

4. Civil and political rights

49. It has been reported that women’s rights activists continue to be harassed for making statements that criticise policies or Government actions; organisational meetings continue to be disbanded; the denial of permits required to peacefully assemble persist; and women believed to be associated with entities such as the Mourning Mothers and the One Million Signatures Campaign continue to face harassment, arrest, and detention. Women’s rights advocates are frequently charged with national security crimes and “propaganda against the system”.

50. Activists are also reportedly subject to travel bans and other forms of suppression for protected activities, and Women’s rights activist and member of the “One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality” Ms Maryam Behraman was recently sentenced to an eight-month suspended jail term on the charge of “propagation against the state.” She was acquitted on charges of “insulting the leader” and “founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.[54] Ms. Behraman was arrested on 11 May 2011 in Shiraz on charges of “acting against national security”, a charge apparently linked to her participation in the 55th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in March 2011, and detained for 128 days in Shriz’s intelligence detention center. On 15 September 2011, she was released on $ 300,000 bail. Ms. Behraman’s lawyer reportedly stated that she had the opportunity to read eight volumes of her case file and was allowed to take notes, and submit her defense during the three relatively lengthy [court] sessions.[55]

51. Furthermore, a number of Iranian laws continue to discriminate against women. Article 1108 of the Iranian civil code, for example, compels a woman’s obedience to her husband.  Furthermore, women cannot transfer nationality and citizenship to their husbands or children, which has rendered stateless thousands of children of Iranian women who have married Afghan or Iraqi refugees, as well as expatriate Iranian women married to non-Iranians.

52. A dearth of female representation in decision-making roles remains problematic for women’s participation in public life, as guaranteed by Article 25 of the ICCPR.  Women are allowed to serve as legal counsellors, for example, but are prohibited from issuing and signing final verdicts.[56] Also, no woman has ever been appointed to the Council of Guardians and the Expediency Council. Furthermore, only nine of the 490 women that reportedly presented their candidatures for the March 2012 parliamentary elections were elected, giving women only 3.1% of the 290 seats in the Majlis; albeit up from eight female representatives in the last parliament.[57]  Prior to the election, Iranian women’s groups called on the Speaker of the Parliament to improve female representation in the Majlis, citing the “increasing number of professional women; the importance of incorporating the female outlook on issues in decision-making bodies; addressing women’s and family issues; and eliminating legal vacuums” as reasons for their request.[58]

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G. Ethnic Minorities

1. Ahwazi Arabs

53. The Special Rapporteur continues to be disturbed by reports from members of the Arab community regarding arrests, detentions, and prosecutions for protected activities that promote social, economic, cultural, linguistic and environmental rights. A majority of interviewees reported that they were arrested in the absence of a warrant, and that they were ill-treated during their arrests. Interviewees maintained that they were detained without charges for periods ranging from several days to several weeks  Several individuals reported being psychologically and physically tortured during their interrogations, including by floggings, beatings, and being made to witness executions, threats against family members, and the actual detention of family members for the purpose of implicating others, or to compel others to report to the authorities.

54. One interviewee reported that his/her cousin, nephew and brother were arrested in June 2012 for the purpose of coercing their children, who are currently living abroad, to return to the country. He/she maintained that Ministry of Intelligence officers reportedly arrested, detained, and interrogated his/her family members about possible foreign contacts on a daily basis for over two weeks in the absence of charges.  They were reportedly subjected to psychological and physical torture, including by flogging and beatings to the point of unconsciousness. The individuals reportedly remain in prison.

55. An informed source reported that poet Mr Sattar Sayyahi, died under suspicious circumstances in November 2012 following his release and subsequent threats by the Ministry of Intelligence. Mr. Sayyahi’s uncle and neighbour were also reportedly arrested, interrogated and tortured, by the authorities after they took Mr. Sayyahi to the hospital.  The interviewee maintained that Mr. Sayyahi’s uncle and neighbour were questioned about their conversations with him prior to his death.  It was further reported that authorities attacked and arrested an estimated 130-140 funeral attendants, including Mr. Sayyahi’s 17-year old cousin, Ali Sayyahi’s, whose hand was reportedly broken as a result of torture while in detention.

2. Baloch

56. Sistan-Balochistan is arguably the most underdeveloped region in Iran, with the highest poverty, infant and child mortality rates, and lowest life expectancy and literacy rates in the country. The Balochi are reportedly subjected to systematic social, racial, religious, and economic discrimination, and are also severely underrepresented in state apparatuses.[59] It has also been reported that the linguistic rights of the Baloch are undermined by a systematic rejection of Balochi-language publications and limitations on the public and private use of their native languages, in contravention of article 15 of the Iranian Constitution, and article 27 of the ICCPR. Moreover, the application of the Gozinesh criterion, which requires state officials and employees to demonstrate allegiance to Islam and to the concept of velayat-e faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), further exacerbates their socioeconomic situation, by limiting employment opportunities.[60]

57. Accounts of the destruction of Sunni mosques and religious schools, and allegations of the imprisonment, and assassination of Sunni clerics, have also been reported. Baloch activists have reportedly been subject to arbitrary arrests and torture. The Sistan-Balochistan province experiences a high rate of executions for drug-related offenses or crimes deemed to constitute “enmity against god” in the absence of fair trials.[61]  Allegations were also received that the Government has used the death penalty as a means to suppress opposition in the province.[62] In a plea to the international community, the Balochistan People’s Party reported that two Baloch prisoners in Zahidan Prison were sentenced to death following a demonstration in Rask City and other towns in the Sarbaz area in May 2012. Political prisoners in the detention center who reportedly protested against the death sentences were punished with exile.[63]

58. It was also reported that netizen Abdol Basit Rigi and political activists Abdoljalil Rigi and Yahyaa Charizahi were charged with “enmity against God”, and sentenced to death following forced confessions. One of the political prisoners, Abdol Basit Rigi, was arrested three years ago, reportedly kept in solitary confinement for eleven months, and allegedly tortured. It is further reported that two of the activists were transferred to solitary confinement in the Intelligence Ministry two days before their execution, where they were subjected to violent torture and forced to record a televised confession.[64]

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H. Religious minorities

59. The Special Rapporteur remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation facing religious minorities in Iran. Reports from and interviews with members of the Bahai, Christian, and Sunni Muslim communities continue to portray a situation in which adherents of recognised and unrecognised religions face discrimination in law and/or in practice. This includes various levels of intimidation, arrest and detention. A number of interviewees maintained that they were repeatedly interrogated about their religious beliefs, and a majority of interviewees reported being charged with national security crimes and/or  propaganda against the State for religious activities. Several interviewees reported that they were psychologically and physically tortured.

1. Baha’is

60. In its comments on the Special Rapporteur’s report to the 67th session of the General Assembly, the Government asserted that despite the fact that the Baha’i faith is not a recognised religion in the country, its followers have equal rights under the law, and that they may not be prosecuted or imprisoned for adhering to their beliefs.  However, it was also maintained that propagation of the Baha’i faith is in “breach of the existing laws and regulations” and that activities that constitute its proselytisation disrupt public order and may be limited in accordance with Article 18 and 19 of the ICCPR. However, the Human Rights Committee emphasises that the teaching of religious beliefs are protected and that “the practice and teaching of religion or belief includes acts integral to the conduct by religious groups of their basic affairs, such as the freedom to…establish seminaries or religious schools and the freedom to prepare and distribute religious texts or publications.”

61. It has been reported that 110 Baha’is are currently detained in Iran for exercising their faith, including two women, Mrs. Zohreh Nikayin (Tebyanian) and Mrs. Taraneh Torabi (Ehsani), who are reportedly nursing infants in prison. It was further estimated that 133 Baha’is are currently awaiting summonse to serve their sentences, and that another 268 Baha’is are reportedly awaiting trial. Authorities reportedly arrested at least 59 members from August to November 2012, some of whom have been released.  Several sources reported that since October 2012, authorities have raided the homes of at least 24 Baha’is and arrested 25 individuals in the city of Gorgon and its surrounding provincial areas, 10 of whom remained in custody at the time of drafting this report. It has also been reported that Baha’is in the northern city of Semnan have been the focus of escalating and broad persecution over the last three years. Baha’is in this city have allegedly faced physical violence, arrests, arson, and vandalism to their homes and grave sites. The majority of Baha’i-owned businesses in Semnan and the northern city of Hamadan have reportedly been closed. [65]

62. Members of the Baha’i community are reported to continue to be systematically deprived of a range of social and economic rights, including access to higher education. Informed sources have reported that authorities from three different universities expelled five Baha’i students in November 2012. Four of these students were reportedly offered continued admission if they denied and/or pledged to abandon their religious practices.  The students were reportedly expelled for refusing the offer.

2. Christians

63. The Government stressed that “[r]ecognition of Christianity, by the Constitution … does not constitute judicial immunity” for its followers.[66]  The Special Rapporteur asserts that Christians should not face sanctions for manifesting and practising their faith, and therefore remains concerned that Christians are reportedly being arrested and prosecuted on vaguely-worded national security crimes for exercising their beliefs.

64. Sources have reported that at least 13 Protestant Christians are currently in detention centres across Iran, and that more than 300 Christians have been arrested since June 2010.  Those currently in prison include Pastor Behnam Irani and church leader Farshid Fathi, who are both serving six-year sentences on charges such as “acting against national security”, “being in contact with enemy foreign countries,” and “religious propaganda.” Sources maintain that the evidence used against Mr. Fathi was related to his church activities, including distributing Persian-language Bibles and coordinating trips for church members to attend religious seminars and conferences outside the country. Several Protestant churches with majority Assyrian or Armenian-speaking congregations have also been forced to cease Persian-language services, and it was recently reported that the Janat Abad Assemblies of God Church in Tehran, which held all-Persian services, was shut down on 19 May 2012.[67]

65. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned that the right of Iranians to choose their faith is increasingly at risk. Christian interviewees consistently report being targeted by authorities for promoting their faith, participating in informal house-churches with majority convert congregations, allowing converts to join their church services and congregations, and/or converting from Islam. A majority of interviewees that identified themselves as converts reported that they were threatened with criminal charges for apostasy while in custody, and a number of others reported that they were asked to sign documents pledging to cease their church activities in order to gain release.

3. Dervishes

66. Interviews and information submitted to the Special Rapporteur continue to allege that Gonabadi Dervishes, who are Shia Muslims, are subjected to attacks on their places of worship, and are arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and prosecuted. Sources note that 12 Gonabadi Dervishes remained in official custody as of November 2012, including four lawyers, Farshid Yadollah, Amir Eslami, Omid Behroozi, and Mostafa Daneshjoo. It was further reported that on 12 December 2012 six dervishes from the city of Kovar were tried in a revolutionary court in Shiraz, some for the capital offence of Moharebeh.

4. Other faith groups and spiritual practices

67. Representatives of the Yarsan, a religious minority active amongst Kurdish Iranians, reported that their religious gatherings are routinely repressed.  Additionally, the leader of the Yarsan, Mr. Seyyed Nasradin Heydari, is allegedly under house arrest. Yarsan who pass university entrance exams and profess that they practice the Yarsan faith are purportedly refused admission.  Moreover, the Special Rapporteur is also concerned about reports regarding the arrest of leaders of spiritual, semi-spiritual, and meditation groups in Iran. For example, sources report that Peyman Fattahi, leader of the spiritual community of the El-Yasin, was detained for almost three weeks in October and November 2012.

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I. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community

68. The Special Rapporteur continues to share the concern of the Human Rights Committee that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT) face harassment, persecution, cruel punishment, and are denied basic human rights.  The new draft Islamic Penal Code criminalises same-sex relations between consenting adults.  Articles 232-233 of the new Penal Code would mandate a death sentence for the “passive” male involved in sodomy, regardless of whether his role was consensual. Under the new law, “active” Muslim and unmarried males may be subject to 100 lashes so long as they are not engaged in rape.  Married and/or non-Muslim males may be subject to capital punishment for the same act. Men involved in non-penetrative same-sex acts or women engaged in same-sex acts would also face 100 lashes according to the new Penal Code.

69. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that criminalising same-sex relations could lead to violation of core human rights guarantees, including the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to be free from discrimination as well as the right to be protected against unreasonable interference with privacy, provided under international human rights instruments, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Special Rapporteur joins the United Nations Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights in her call for ending violence and discrimination against all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.[68]

70. Interviews with 24 members of the Iranian LGBT community for this report reinforce many of the concluding observations forwarded by the Human Rights Committee’s periodic review of Iran. Fifteen interviewees believed that they were arrested at least once for their sexual orientation or for associating with other LGBT persons. Thirteen reported that once in detention, security officers subjected them to some form of torture or physical abuse; including punches, kicks and baton strikes to the head or body and, in a few cases, sexual assault and rape. Several people reported that they were coerced into signing confessions. Iran’s criminalisation of same-sex relations facilitates physical abuse in the domestic setting as well. A majority of these individuals reported that they were beaten by family members at home, but could not report these assaults to the authorities out of fear that they would themselves be charged with a criminal act.

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J. Socioeconomic rights

1. Right to education

71. In addition to limitations placed on access to education for women and some religious minorities, reports continue to maintain that students engaged in political activities are being deprived of their education.  In a letter to the Special Rapporteur, the Human Rights Commission of Daftar Tahkim Vahdat an Iranian Student Organization stressed the increase in punitive action in reaction to peaceful efforts by students to improve academic life and defend student and human rights, vis-à-vis student organisations, publications, and activism.

72. Citing statistics based on information gathered from news sources, the Commission maintains that since March 2005, there have been at least 935 cases of students deprived from continuing education for either one or more semesters, and at least 41 cases of professors expelled from university.  Of the 976 aforementioned reported cases, more than 140 cases apply solely to Allameh Tabataba’i University (14 professors and 57 students), headed by Mr. Sadreddin Shariati, and Amirkabir Polytechnic University of Tehran (72 students), headed by Mr. Alireza Rahaei. Moreover, three student publications or associations have been forcibly closed.

73. Individuals interviewed for this report maintained that they were denied access to universities despite achieving top scores on university entrance exams for higher degrees as a result of their political activities. One top ranking political science student, for example, reported that he/she was denied entrance to a Masters degree program until he/she signed a pledge that he/she would abstain from student activism for the duration of his/her studies. However, he/she was later denied access to PhD studies and alleged that he/she had been informed that the Ministry of Intelligence had placed him/her on a list of students that were banned from continuing their education.

74. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned over allegations that university professors in the field of humanities continue to be expelled for their views. Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Kamran Daneshjoo, reportedly asserted that professors uncommitted to Velayat–e Faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), or who have a “secular or liberal-democracy point of view” are not needed in Iran.[69]  One professor reported that he/she was subjected to immense pressure from the head of his/her university to prove his/her devotion to Islamic values and the Iranian State by demanding that he/she join daily prayers at the university. Refusal to cooperate was reportedly followed by death threats from the Ministry of Intelligence, which informed him/her that if he/she refused to cooperate with the Islamic guidelines of the university he/she would be “expelled, killed, and buried in an undisclosed grave”. The professor further reported that twelve colleagues had been expelled or forced into early retirement for alleged non-cooperation with Islamic guidelines of the university in the last five years alone.

2. Economic sanctions

75. The Special Rapporteur joins the Secretary-General in continuing to express concern at the potentially negative humanitarian effect of general economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.[70] The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights makes clear that sanctions do not nullify a State Party’s obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[71] The Committee also noted that “the inhabitants of a given country do not forfeit their basic economic, social and cultural rights by virtue of any determination that their leaders have violated norms relating to international peace and security”. They further stated that the imposition of international sanctions does not in any way nullify or diminish the obligations of a State party to ICESCR to do its utmost to ensure that every individual, without discrimination, enjoys rights stipulated by the Covenant; and to seek measures to protect vulnerable groups.

76. Furthermore, the Committee makes clear that imposing sanctions bestows obligations upon the imposing parties to respect the economic and social rights of the sanctioned country’s population.[72] Principles introduced in a 1995 non-paper on the humanitarian impact of sanctions to the Security Council, by its five permanent members calls for “unimpeded access to humanitarian aid” within the targeted country and for monitoring the humanitarian effects of sanctions, while a 1998 letter to the Council from the Secretary-General urges sanctions regimes to account for human rights and humanitarian standards.[73]

77. The Special Rapporteur takes note of efforts by parties imposing sanctions, including through “humanitarian exemptions” to exempt foodstuffs, medical supplies, and other humanitarian goods from the sanctions. However, reports of drug shortages used in the treatment of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, haemophilia, and multiple sclerosis gives rise to concerns that such exemptions are potentially not meeting their intended purpose.[74]  In light of these reports, the Special Rapporteur remains concerned about the efficacy of international safeguards meant to reduce the adverse impact of general sanctions on the Iranian population. He will therefore continue to seek the cooperation of the Iranian Government, as well as those of sanctions-imposing countries to effectively report on the efficaciousness of humanitarian safeguards.

78. Some reports point to sanctions aimed at Iran’s financial sector, which could pose an impediment to conducting transactions for exempted items despite humanitarian waivers.[75]  The Special Rapporteur is further concerned by a serious rise in inflation, increased commodity prices, and subsidy cuts, which could also hinder access to essential goods.[76] Some reports also indicate that domestic authorities could take steps to mitigate some humanitarian effects of sanctions and better meet obligations under the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.

79. The Special Rapporteur stresses that further investigation into these issues is necessary, and requests the assistance and cooperation of the Government in facilitating an unfettered visit to the country in order to adequately assess the humanitarian consequences of sanctions and their impact on economic and social rights of Iranians.  He also appeals to relevant UN agencies and sanctions-imposing Governments to aid in the evaluation of the impact of sanctions on Iran’s general population.

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III. Conclusions and Recommendations

80. In reflecting on the last two years of his mandate and his current report, the Special Rapporteur concludes that there has been an apparent increase in the degree of seriousness of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Frequent and disconcerting reports concerning punitive State action against various members of civil society, reports about actions that undermine the full enjoyment of human rights by women, religious and ethnic minorities; and alarming reports of retributive State action against individuals suspected of communicating with UN Special Procedures raises serious concern about the Government’s resolve to promote respect for human rights in the country.

81. The Special Rapporteur also continues to be alarmed by the rate of executions in the country, especially for crimes that do not meet serious crimes standards, and especially in the face of allegations of widespread and ongoing torture for the purposes of soliciting confessions from the accused. The Government’s ability to meaningfully address matters raised by a number of human rights instruments and the Human Rights Council is constrained by a lack of meaningful cooperation, by its intransigent position on the existence of human rights violations in the country, and by de jure and de facto practices that undermine its international and national human rights obligations.

82. The Special Rapporteur, therefore, proposes that the Iranian Government undertake the following actions in order to address the preponderance of issues raised in this and previous reports communicated by the expert:

(a) Extend its full cooperation to the country mandate-holder by engaging in a substantive and constructive dialogue and facilitating a visit the country.

(b) Immediately investigate allegations of reprisals against individuals that cooperate with  international human rights instruments and organizations and to take measures to “ensure adequate protection from intimidation or reprisals for individuals and members of groups who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights”.4

(c) Desist from actions designed to injure or intimidate those who work to identify human rights violations, promote redress, and those that may cooperate with international human rights mechanisms.

(d) Consider the immediate and unconditional release of civil society actors and human rights defenders prosecuted for protected activities; including journalists, netizens, lawyers and student, cultural, environmental, and political activists that work to promote civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights currently detained for activities protected by national and international law.

(e) Expedite its voluntary commitment to establish a National Human Rights Commission, in accordance with Paris Principles. 

(f) Examine and address those laws that contravene its international obligation to eliminate all forms of discrimination in law and practice.  These include those laws and policies that undermine gender equality and women’s rights, and that discriminate against religious and ethnic minorities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the country. 

(g) Consider the immediate release of prisoners of conscience such as Pastors Behnam Irani, Farshid Fathi, as well as the leaders of the Baha’i community, and fully honor its commitments under Article 18 of ICCPR that guarantee the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which was accepted by Iran without reservation.

(h) Investigate all allegations of torture, address impunity and end the culture of investigation through confession as reflected by the breadth of reports communicated to the Special Rapporteur.

(i) Consider a moratorium on capital punishment until the efficacy of judicial safeguards can be meaningfully demonstrated, and stay the execution of individuals who have alleged violations of their due process rights.

(j) Improve transparency on the impact of sanctions and report on measures it has taken to protect its inhabitants from the potential and actual negative impacts of such sanctions.

(k) The Special Rapporteur also calls on the United Nations system and on sanctions-imposing countries to monitor the impact of sanctions and to take all appropriate steps to ensure that measures, such as humanitarian exemptions, are effectively serving their intended purpose to prevent the potentially harmful impacts of general economic sanctions on human rights.

[Read Full Annex]

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[1] A/HRC/12/L.8; Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, 25 September 2009
[2] http://www.daneshjoonews.com/node/8058; http://af-express.com/1391/08/24/ http://hrdai.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1064:——-3———–&catid=5:2010-07-21-10-19-53
[3] https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/12/kurdish_prisoners/; http://persianbanoo.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/3-kurdish-political-prisoners-to-be-tried-on-charges-of-contact-with-un-special-rapporteur-ahmed-shaeed/; http://hra-news.org/1389-01-27-05-27-21/14413-1.html;
[4] A/HRC/12/L.8; Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, 25 September 2009
[5] Attached as addendum: “A Brief reply the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur to the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council”
[6] GC25, para 1.
[7] Art 2(1) & 25, ICCPR; GC25, paras 4, 6 & 17.
[8] GC25, para 7.
[9] CCPR/IRN/3, para 885. Constitution, Art 115; GC25, para 15.
[10]  GC25, para 17.
[11]  A/HRC/WGAD/2012/30.
[12]  http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/2013/01/130117_ka_ejei_mosavi_karobi.shtml.
[13]  GC25, para 20.
[14]  GC25, para. 7.
[15]  GC25, para 12.
[16]  http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13911019000569http://www.1000news.ir/1391/10/24/2074/http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13911023000070.
[17]  http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2012.php
[18]  http://cpj.org/imprisoned/2012.php
[19]   See Annex: Journalist’s Cases Section
[20]  See Annex: Human Rights Defender’s Cases Section;
[21]  Interview with the Office of the Special Rapporteur, August 2012
[22]  http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/07/narges-mohammadi-hospitalized-in-prison/ ; http://amnesty.org/en/individuals-at-risk/narges-mohammadi
[23]  http://www.ibanet.org/Article/Detail.aspx?ArticleUid=8281ffa3-1ce7-4976-a93d-e488cc0fa333
[24] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/world/middleeast/iran-engaged-in-severe-clampdown-on-critics-un-says.html?_r=0; http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-must-release-human-rights-defender-mohammad-ali-dadkhah-2012-10-01;
[25] http://www.kaleme.com/1391/11/03/klm-130247/; http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-stop-cruel-charade-and-release-human-rights-lawyer-good-2013-01-23; http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2013/01/sotoudeh_prison/
[26]  http://www.parliran.ir/index.aspx?siteid=1&pageid=2964&newsview=16898
[27]  http://hra-news.org/1389-01-27-05-27-51/14403-1.html; http://www.persianicons.org/human-right/sattar-beheshtis-40th-day-passing-memorial-services-raided-his-mother-beaten-and-injured/#ixzz2GZIdrpfW
[28]  http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/news/inside-iran/1000000206-ahwazi-arab-political-activist-jamil-sowaidi-reportedly-tortured-to-death-in-custody.html#.UN0sr6UTszU
[29]  http://www.freedomfromtorture.org
[30]  See Annex: Freedom From Torture Report
[31] http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/1000000030-ihrdc-chart-of-executions-by-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-2012.html#.URsdFqUTvu0
[32] http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10698&LangID=E
[33] http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12688&LangID=E
[34] http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12656&LangID=E
[35] UNICEF Report: MENA Gender Equality Profile, Status of Girls and Women in the Middle East and North America, Iran; October 2011, page 3
[36] ICESCR: Second periodic reports of States parties, Islamic Republic of  Iran, 2009, para 257.9
[37] Ibid;  para 36.8-36.10
[38] http://isna.ir/fa/news/91100301947/
a name=”ftn39″>[39] World Economic Forum; The Global Gender Gap Report, 2012
[40] http://www.weforum.org/reports
[41] ICESCR: Second periodic reports of States parties, Islamic Republic of  Iran, 2009; para 25
[42] ICCPR: Third periodic reports of States parties Islamic Republic of  Iran, 2009; para 27
[43] General Discussion of the Commission on the Status of Women, 56th Session; Intervention by H.E. Mr. Eshagh Al-Habib, Ambassador and Deputy Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, on behalf of H.E. Maryam Mojtahedzadeh, Advisor to the President and Head for the Center for Women and Family Affairs; February 2012
[44] Law of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2004, pg. 11
[45]  A/67/287; Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, 10 August 2012
[46]  UNICEF Report: MENA Gender Equality Profile, Status of Girls and Women in the Middle East and North America, Iran; October 2011, page 4
[47]  http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13910822000692; http://www.etemaad.ir/PDF/91-09-09/index1.htm
[48]  http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1666033
[49]  http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/22/iran-ensure-equal-access-higher-education; http://www.mehrnews.com/fa/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1666033;
[50]  http://www.daneshjoonews.com/node/7643
[51]  http://isna.ir/fa/news/91082717440/
[52]  http://isna.ir/fa/news/91102514730/
[53]  http://isna.ir/fa/news/91082717440/
[54]  http://fairfamilylaw.org/spip.php?article8811
[55]  http://fairfamilylaw.org/spip.php?article8811; http://hra-news.org/263/best/14339-1.html
[56]  Article 5 of the Law on the Qualifications for the Appointment of Judges as amended in 1985,http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/91044; Article 3 of the Law Designating the Current Courts to Courts that are the Subject of Article 21 of the Constitution (Family Courts) (1997),http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/92925; Article 5 of the Law Reforming the Laws Pertaining to Divorce Provisions (1992),http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/99628
[58]  http://www.payvand.com/news/12/jan/1167.html
[59]  Amnesty International’s submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/ngos/AI_CESCRWG49_Iran.pdf
[60]  UNPO submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/ngos/UNPO_IranWG49.pdf, also see  Religious Discrimination And Injustice To Ahlesunnat, Geneva July 22, 2012, http://www.ostomaan.org/articles/human-rights/13351  See also: Continuous increasing suppression against Sunni Baloch in Iran, September 2008: http://eng.balochpeople.org/oldarchive/eng/2008/pressRel/IncreasingSuppressionOfSunniBaloch1.htm
[61]  Amnesty International Report, March 2010:http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/iran-executions-send-chilling-message-2010-03-30
[62]  Appeal to: The International Community to put pressure on Iranian government to stops Mass arrests and executions of Baloch people in Iran, www.BalochPeople.org, October 2012. http://www.unpo.org/article/15045
[63]  http://www.ostomaan.org/articles/human-rights/14422
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