Iran refuses to end the criminalisation and punishment of same-sex sexual conduct

March 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

6Rang, 12 March 2020: In its replies to the many recommendations received from several countries during the third cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Iran did not accept to end the criminalisation and punishment of persons for consensual same-sex relation or to pose a moratorium on the death penalty imposed on this basis.

In its response to recommendations from Czech Republic and New Zealand on LGBTI rights, Iran claims that according to Iran’s laws all individuals are entitled to equal rights. Additionally, regarding transgender people it has been alleged that, “a special support-oriented approach has been adopted by the government which tries to offer counseling, financial and insurance services to them through relevant laws, competent authorities and social institutes. According to the law, transgender people can apply for gender identity redetermination surgery through competent courts.”

However, 6Rang’s research demonstrates that, since at least three years, the government has virtually ceased providing funds for gender reassignment surgeries for a vast majority of the applicants and justifies it with not having sufficient budget.

Germany, Iceland, Canada, Uruguay, Italy, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico and Malta were other countries that called for the adoption of protective laws and the abolition of punishment for same-sex relations referring to the discrimination and violence against the LGBTI community. Iran has stated that it will not accept those recommendations.

Prior to the UPR, 6Rang reported on the violations of LGBTI rights in Iran in a detailed report addressed to the international community and called on states to hold Iran accountable. This report, a summary of which was presented during the pre-UPR session to more than 45 representatives from different countries, raised various issues such as the death penalty in the Islamic Penal Code for same-sex relations, arrests of LGBTI individuals and pressure on their families, coercive and forced gender reassignment surgeries and sub-standards practices, as well as the use of “reparative therapies” on people of different sexual orientation in Iran.

“Even where it partially supports the recommendations made by Czech Republic and New Zealand, the Islamic Republic [of Iran] only mentions transsexual persons and ignores the very existence of LGB persons” says Shadi Amin, Executive Director of 6Rang.

Iran partially (and in certain cases fully) accepted recommendations on taking measures to protect women and girls from violence and discrimination by, for example, reforming penal and civil laws. However, recommendations on the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women were rejected.

During the third cycle of UPR of Iran’s human rights situation that took place in November 2019 in Geneva, 111 countries made a total of 329 recommendations to Iran. Iran had to reply to these recommendations within a three-month time period and declare which of these recommendations it accepted to implement. In this response, the Iranian government has also rejected all recommendations on non-discrimination and the abolition of laws criminalising same-sex relations as well as the death penalty.

“Iranian government’s reply shows that without serious pressure on our part as the LGBTI community and the targeted pressure of the international community, which currently do not exist, it will not be possible to change laws that criminalise consensual same-sex relations or to improve the situation of transgender people in Iran.” Shadi Amin adds.

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Category: Press Release

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