New UN Report Assails Iran for Persistent Discrimination against Women
Juvenile Executions, Persecution of Human Rights Defenders Also Condemned
In the latest report issued by the UN’s top expert on Iran, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Javaid Rehman expressed alarm and concern over a broad range of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic, including the persistence of discrimination against women and minorities, juvenile executions, the persecution of human rights defenders and the lack of any accountability for the state violence against protestors in November 2019.
While covering many areas of rights abuses, the report focused in particular on violations against women. The Special Rapporteur stated he “remains deeply concerned at the persistent discrimination against women and girls in public and private life, enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and within law and practice.”
The UN expert called on the authorities in Iran to repeal discriminatory family, criminal and employment laws that discriminate against women, provide better protections for women from violence, promote female leadership and the full participation in cultural life, and end the targeting of women’s rights advocates.
Women in Iran are subjected to a broad range of discriminatory policies and practices, as highlighted in this fact sheet produced by the Center for Human Rights in Iran.
In addition to violations of women’s rights, the Special Rapporteur assailed the authorities in Iran for other areas of rights abuses.
The Special Rapporteur noted that “the Government’s [COVID-19] pandemic response remains inadequate and opaque, especially relating to protecting detainees in overcrowded and unhygienic prisons.”
He expressed deep concern at the high execution rate in the Islamic Republic, “including for acts that do not amount to the ‘most serious crimes’ and following unfair trials,” and stated he remains “deeply concerned by the continued execution of child offenders,” noting that “at least three were executed between 1 January and 1 December 2020, while over 85 child offenders are on death row.”
The UN expert also expressed “particular alarm at the recent implementation of the death penalty against protesters,” and at “reports of secret executions in connection with protests, with death sentences issued in these cases following unfair trials and after the systematic use of torture to extract forced confessions.” He stated that “the authorities may be using harsh sentences, including the death penalty, to suppress dissent.”
The Special Rapporteur criticized the fact that “more than one year on, the Government has failed to conduct an impartial, independent and transparent investigation into the use of excessive and lethal force during nationwide demonstrations in November 2019,” and noted the failure to hold perpetrators accountable.
He stated that human rights defenders, lawyers, dual and foreign nationals and labour rights activists continued to be targeted by the State, and expressed concern over the harassment and detention of human rights defenders and lawyers “for the exercise or defence of human rights.” He added that “renewed targeting of relatives to coerce human rights defenders into stopping their activism has been observed.”
In addition, the UN expert expressed deep concern that discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities persists, and “is alarmed at reports of executions and enforced disappearances of ethnic minority political prisoners.”
The full report by the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran can be accessed here.