Iran indicates a move toward ending anti-LGBT torture

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19 March 2015 – Justice for Iran (JFI) & Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network (6Rang) welcome the decision by the Islamic Republic of Iran to accept 139 of the 291 recommendations  and to partially support 59 recommendations put forward by the 28th session of the Human Rights Council that address the rights of sexual minorities.

Despite the limitations, this is the first time the Islamic Republic has acknowledged ill-treatment and torture of the LGBT community. It is also Iran’s initial move on the international level towards recognition of the rights of sexual minorities.

Despite the limitations, this is the first time the Islamic Republic has acknowledged ill-treatment and torture of the LGBT community.

The document states sterilization, sex change operations and reperative therapies that are either forced or coerced due to absence of a free and informed decision-making process, will be made illegal. Furthermore, citizens will not face any form of torture based on sexual orientation. Iran reiterates its commitment to protect those rights of recognized religious, ethnic and sexual minorities that are in accordance with its constitution, and conditions this statement on the fact that some may require amendments in law or involve a period of time before they are fully implemented. In addition, according to the Human Rights Council website, Human Rights Council website, Iran accepts 59 additional recommendations with some limitations.

The development is taking place after over a year of campaigning by JFI and 6Rang in defence of the rights of LGBT citizens of Iran through organisations defending the rights of LGBT individuals and the international community.

“This indicates that the findings in our reports on forced sex change, as well as ill-treatment and torture of individuals solely based on their sexual orientation and gender indentity were effective in bringing about the acceptance from Iran”  Shadi Amin, the coordinator of 6Rang said.

“However, Iran’s refusal to accept recommendations to fully decriminalise ‘same-sex sexual relations, remove the death penalty and flogging for offences relating to consensual same-sex relations between adults’ on the one hand, and making illegal torture due to sexual orientation with some reservations on the other, raise serious concerns regarding Iran’s will to implement the recommendations,” she added.  “Unfortunately, no mechanisms are in place to monitor the implementation of this decision.”

“This indicates that the findings in our reports on forced sex change, as well as ill-treatment and torture of individuals solely based on their sexual orientation and gender indentity were effective in bringing about the acceptance from Iran”  Shadi Amin, the coordinator of 6Rang said.

Over the past year, 6Rang and JFI have presented a number of reports and submissions to UN member states, participated in pre-sessions, briefed more than 45 representatives, and highlighted numerous violations of the rights of sexual minorities in Iran. Through these efforts they invited member states to include specific recommendations that aid to “outlaw reparative therapies… end discrimination and violence… and decriminalise same-sex sexual relations”. Almost all points recommended by 6Rang and JFI were included in recommendations made by 12 countries during the 2014 UPR on Iran.

Shadi Sadr, the Executive Director of JFI, said: “We call on the members of civil society to follow up on recommendations as made by Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands that Iran has partially supported. In addition, we call on all international organisations to press Iran to accept the remaining 102 recommendations, all of which reflect fundamental rights of Iranians.”

Following three years of submitting reports by 6 Rang and JFI on the rights of transgender citizens to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed has dedicated a section of his latest report to this important matter. This move has met with humiliating and harsh reactions by the Head of Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani.

UPR is an important UN human rights instrument within which framework every four years each country is duty-bound to submit a report on the situation of human rights within its jurisdiction to the international community. This is followed by a Human Rights Council session where all member states put forward recommendations on a number of topics and the country under review chooses which recommendations to accept. By accepting the recommendations, the country under review is duty bound to implement each over the four-year period. Iran’s second UPR took place on 30 October 2014.   Based on reports published by the Human Rights Council and NGOs prior to Iran’s second UPR, Iran has not implemented any of the recommendations adopted during the 2010 UPR.

 

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