Justice for Iran, May 27, 2013 | The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has released its Concluding Observations on Iran’s implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee expresses serious concern about a wide range of pressing substantive human rights abuses faced by women, children, Baha’is, workers and trade unionists, members of ethnic minorities, including the Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, Azeris, and Baluch, Afghan refugees and migrants, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Justice for Iran had provided the Committee with an alternative report in advance of the review. We welcome the fact that the Committee’s observations reflect our main areas of concern, including inter alia the following recommendations:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons
– Repeal all legislation that results in discrimination, prosecution and punishment of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
– Combat and prevent discrimination and societal stigma against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and ensure their enjoyment of all the rights enshrined in the Covenant, including unhindered access to employment, social services, health care, and education
-Lift all restrictions on access to university education, including bans on female and male enrollment, limited quotas for women in certain fields, as well as gender segregation in classrooms and facilities
– Criminalize domestic violence, including marital rape
– Remove the power of a spouse to prohibit the other spouse from entering employment
-Raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years for both boys and girls
-Address the high drop-out rate of girls in rural areas as well as of Ahwazi Arab children
Afghan Refugees and Migrants
– Ensure that refugee children have access to free primary education, regardless of whether their parents have registered with the authorities
-Take immediate steps, inter alia by increasing budgetary allocations, to improve housing and living conditions in regions traditionally inhabited by ethnic minorities, including access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, electricity, transportation facilities, schools and healthcare centres
– Ensure that ethnic minorities have the opportunity to receive education in their mother tongue, in addition to Farsi.
– Ensure the full and unrestricted enjoyment by ethnic minorities, including the Kurds, Arabs, Azeris, and Baluch, to their right to take part in cultural life, including through the protection of publications and newspapers in minority language from imposed closure.
The Committee has put more than 30 recommendations in front of the Iranian government. “These observations and recommendations point to serious gaps in people’s enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in Iran. The gaps result, to a large degree, from pervasive and legally entrenched discrimination on grounds of sex, religion, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity,” Shadi Sadr, the co-founder of JFI, explains.
This was the Committee’s first review of Iran’s record since 1993 due to a delay on the part of the Islamic Republic in submitting its periodic state report. Sadr notes, ‘a comparison of today’s concluding observations with those from 1993 regrettably reveals that Iran’s human rights violations have not only persisted but also significantly worsened over the years.’
The complete text of the Concluding Observations can be accessed through this link: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/co/E-C-12-IRN-CO-2.doc