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During the first cycle of UPR on Iran, the Islamic Republic accepted at least eight recommendations that directly address the State’s duty to eliminate all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and investigate, prosecute and punish violators. Despite its response, the Islamic Republic has failed in its commitment to implement the relevant recommendations.
Disciplining Bodies, Diagnosing Identities, Mandatory Veiling, Mandatory Sterilization, Sexual Torture and the Right to Bodily Integrity in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a UPR submission by JFI highlightsdetails the role of the highest state authorities including Islamic Republic Guard Corps and judiciary, and documents the range of sexual torture and abuse, as one area of violations of women’s rights:
- Women prisoners of conscience are arrested for a number of reasons, including political affiliation, which can include affiliation with political opposition, women’s rights activists, student bodies, NGOs, members or defenders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community or defenders of the rights of religious minorities; individual activities related to journalism, the media, blogging and human rights advocacy; participation in demonstrations or other forms of activism; religious crimes, including affiliation with unrecognized minorities; and violations pertaining to laws linked to dress codes (hijab)
- Article 38 of the Islamic Republic Constitution forbids “all forms of torture”
- Forced confession to sexual promiscuity, striking genitals, sexual insults and offensive language, sex-based cruelty, forced cavity search and ignoring needs of pregnant women, young mothers and their children are forms of sexual torture in Islamic Republic prisons.
- In the 1980’s prison authorities systematically raped many young female political prisoners prior to execution. The responsible officials were never brought to justice, and instead enjoy high ranking positions, including the current Minister of Justice. Families and survivors still await accountability and reparation for their suffering and loss.
In light of its legal commitment to the principle of anti-discrimination, and the right to freedom of expression and belief, the Islamic Republic must:
- Investigate and hold accountable all state organs and individuals implicated in gender-based policies and practices resulting in abuse and torture of women prisoners and provide reparation and compensation for victims, including survivors of past crimes.
- Take effective legal measures to eliminate forced confession to sexual promiscuity, striking genitals, sexual insults and offensive language, sex-based cruelty, forced cavity search and ignoring needs of pregnant women, young mothers and their children are forms of sexual torture in Islamic Republic prisons.
- Implement a comprehensive rights-based criminal and prison policy as well as national policies designed to eradicate prison violence, including prisons in marginal communities.
Based on a JFI report, for the first time ever, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dr. Rashida Manjoo, made mention of this phenomenon during her report to the UN General Assembly in October 2013.