UN Voices Alarm over Plight of Girls in Iran

hijab

Justice for Iran (JFI), 5 February 2016: The UN has criticised Iran for forcing girls to wear hijab (Islamic veil) at the very young age of 7 irrespective of their religious affiliations. Following a review of the situation in Iran, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) urged the country to “review its hijab laws and regulations and ensure that the right of girls to wear or not to wear hijab is fully respected.”

The UN watchdog for children’s rights condemned Iran for the pre-defined ages of puberty for girls at 9 and for boys at 15 lunar years and asked the State to increase the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys to 18 years. The CRC also stated that an increasing number of “girls at the age of 10 years or younger” are “subjected to child and forced marriages to much older men.” and urged the Iranian government to “to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 years and criminalize marital rape.”

Shadi Sadr, the executive director of the JFI concurred: “although the Iranian State officials claimed that these marriages occur due to cultural factors; CRC has rightfully urged the State to appropriately address the plight of girls in Iran.”

The committee, which is made up of 18 independent experts also expressed concerns about the flogging and death penalty for LGBTI children as a result of their sexuality or even perceived gender expression. And asked Iran to decriminalize same sex relations and end harassment, and bullying of LGBTI children.

Shadi Sadr, the executive director of the JFI concurred: “although the Iranian State officials claimed that these marriages occur due to cultural factors; CRC has rightfully urged the State to appropriately address the plight of girls in Iran.”

The CRC particularly criticised Iran for “cruel and degrading treatment” of the LGBTI with electroshocks, hormones, strong psychoactive medications and forcible surgical treatment and urged that “those responsible for these acts be held accountable” for their actions.

The UN body said it was concerned about child sexual exploitation and abuse committed under the Iranian law which allows for a marriage between the “father and adopted child, paving a path for sexual abuse of children.” In its recommendations, the committee urged to ensure that those responsible for the approval of forced and child marriage, including judges, parents, guardians, religious or traditional leaders are held accountable.

It also called for increasing the age of criminal responsibility, especially for girls which is set at full 9 lunar years for certain crimes, and is “extremely low.”

The Committee also stated serious concerns about the discriminatory treatment of men and women, since under the auspices of Iranian law husbands are the exclusive heads of households.

The committee asked Iran to abide by its treaty obligations with respect to the execution of minors, human rights of street children, ethnic and religious minorities, and children with disabilities.

In a submission to the UN CRC, JFI had urged the committee to take appropriate measures against the discriminatory laws and practices of child marriage and compulsory veiling of children in Iran. Many JFI recommendations were adopted by the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child.

 For further information:

Veiled and Wed: Enforced Hijab Laws, Early Marriages, and Girl Children in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Concluding observations on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of the Islamic Republic of Iran

 

 

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