Letter to High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding early marriage in Irane

 Navi-Pillay-007

8 July 2014: Justice for Iran issues a letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, regarding the harmful practice of early marriages involving girls in Iran and asks the High Commissioner and the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate this rising trend and hold the Islamic Republic accountable.

 In light of the fact that Iran is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to which early marriage without free and full consent is illegal, Justice for Iran requests the High Commissioner to call on the international community to include the issue of early marriage in all negotiations with Iran.

 

Respected High Commissioner,

Justice for Iran wishes to thank you for the manner in which you have highlighted the vital issue of including human rights in Iran as part of 5+1 talks with the Islamic Republic officials. We are also grateful for your mention of Razieh Ebrahimi, a juvenile offender who committed murder after falling victim to the practice of early marriage, and wish to draw your attention to tens of thousands of early marriages in Iran each year.

According to the latest statistics published towards the end of 1392 (2014) more than 5% of women who were married during the first nine months of 1392 (March to December 2013) were below the age of 15, meaning close to 31,000 girls below the age of 15 were registered as married.

Signing the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages without any reservation by Iran, reforming domestic codes with regards to the illegal nature of early marriages involving girls below the age of 18 and prosecuting responsible authorities involved with early marriages of girls, including legal guardians and judges in charge of issuing permit to marry children are among concerns that must be included and investigated as part of all negotiations with Iran.

Latest research by Justice for Iran indicates that since 1385 (March 2006), the rate of marriage in Iran involving girls below the age of 15 continues to rise. Furthermore, each year more than 1/3 of brides are below the age of 19. During the first nine months of 1392 (March to December 2013) around 178,000 girls who faced marriage were between 15 and 19 years of age. In 1391 (March 2012 to March 2013) nearly 41,000 girls below the age of 15 were registered as married and the number of marriages involving girls between 15 and 19 years of age exceeded 265,000.

Although statistics published by Iran do not specify those marriages involving girls below the age of 18 or those between 18 and 19, the high rate of women married below the age of 19 points to the urgent need for greater attention and involvement by human rights organizations to this area.

In October 2013 Justice for Iran published a report highlighting Iran’s official statistics and laws on early marriage. It also published a report based on statements by more than 150 women and men on the negative causes and effects of early marriage on the lives of its victims. Both documents highlight the urgent need to put an end to the harmful practice of early marriage involving girls below the age of 18.

Based on statistics analysed in detail in our latest report, basic rights of thousands of girl children in Iran, similar to the case of Razieh Ebrahimi, continue to be violated. Following early marriage, girls are denied the right to education and living a full life as children. Instead, they are subjected to domestic violence, sexual torture by their husbands and even death as a result of intercourse and childbirth at an early age. In light of these and other weighty effects of early marriage on girls and the annual increase in the rate of early marriages, Justice for Iran requests the High Commissioner and the United Nations Human Rights Council raise this issue with the Islamic Republic officials.

In light of the fact that Iran is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to which early marriage without free and full consent is illegal, Justice for Iran requests the High Commissioner to call on the international community to include the issue of early marriage in all negotiations with Iran.

In light of the fact that Iran is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to which early marriage without free and full consent is illegal, Justice for Iran requests the High Commissioner to call on the international community to include the issue of early marriage in all negotiations with Iran.

The alarming increase in the rate of early marriages is coupled with the fact that in reality there is no minimum age for marriage in Iran. Although Islamic Republic codes determine 13 as the legal age for marriage for girls and 15 for boys, pending any judge’s permission, legal guardians are able to marry their sons or daughters at any age, even as infants.

In light of the fact that Iran is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to which early marriage without free and full consent is illegal, Justice for Iran requests the High Commissioner to call on the international community to include the issue of early marriage in all negotiations with Iran.

Signing the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages without any reservation by Iran, reforming domestic codes with regards to the illegal nature of early marriages involving girls below the age of 18 and prosecuting responsible authorities involved with early marriages of girls, including legal guardians and judges in charge of issuing permit to marry children are among concerns that must be included and investigated as part of all negotiations with Iran.

Copy to Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran

 

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