Universal Periodic Review: JFI Submission on Human Rights Abuses Based on Sex, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

6th April 2014

6 April 2014 | Justice for Iran (JFI) highlights urgent concerns in submission to the 20th session of UPR Working Group on Islamic Republic of Iran.

Disciplining Bodies, Diagnosing Identities, Mandatory Veiling, Mandatory Sterilization, Sexual Torture and the Right to Bodily Integrity in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a submission by JFI highlights a number of areas of human rights violations targeted toward women and transgender people to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Iran, 20th Session of the UPR Working Group, October-November 2014.

JFI submission is deeply concerned with the Islamic Republic’s lack of progress in implementing the recommendations that it accepted to investigate, prosecute and punish allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and to establish effective complaint mechanisms and reparation programs for victims of these violations. It also regretted the fact that Iran rejected the recommendations to decriminalize consensual same-sex activity between adults, and eliminate, in law and practice, all forms of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

In light of the above, JFI issued an in depth submission concerned with a range of distinct but interrelated criminal laws and other legal restrictions and practices that infringe on dignity and autonomy of women and transgender people, on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, particularly in respect of bodily integrity, sexual and reproductive health and decision-making. These include in particular laws pertaining to mandatory hijab for women, and harmful reparative therapy and sex reassignment surgeries for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

The submission also highlights patterns of sexual torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment against women prisoners of conscience, and with the culture of impunity by which such long-standing patterns of abuse are characterized.
The foregoing practices signify serious barriers to the realization of the rights of women and transgender people to control their body and sexuality and expose them, as documented by JFI, to severe human rights abuse not only in detention centers and prisons but also in a vast array of public spaces ranging from schools and hospitals to workplaces and recreation centers.

JFI’ submission offers a number of recommendations and calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease the harassment, arrest, detention, prosecution and conviction of women based on offences against chastity including appearing in public without Islamic hijab JFI also urges Iranian government to ensure that gay, lesbian and transgender persons enjoy and exercise all their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to legal gender recognition, without having to undergo psychiatric assessment and sterilization surgeries. The submission also calls Islamic republic of Iran to end the torture and other ill-treatment, including rape and sexual abuse, of women prisoners of conscience and to ensure that all allegations of sexual torture or other ill-treatment are effectively and promptly investigated by an independent and impartial body, and that those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials.

The responsible UN body will examine JFI and other NGO submissions during its 20th session later this year. The Universal Periodic Review is an important process that checks the performance of all 193 UN member states in relation to their human rights commitments and duties towards their citizens. It also emphasizes sharing of best human rights practices around the globe. Its main aim is to steadily improve the human rights situation at the national level by setting benchmarks and providing assistance to states to align their policies and practices with international human rights law and standards.

JFI’s submission full text is available at: http://justice4iran.org/english/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/IRAN-UPR-Submission-JFI.pdf

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