According to WHO statistics, four to 10 per cent of every society are LGBT people. The Iranian population of more than 83 million is no exception.
The Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network (6Rang) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization concerned with the human rights situation of lesbian and transgender people in Iran. 6Rang is a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). 6Rang has made submissions to the UN bodies and published reports that, among other issues, have focused on documenting human rights abuses against lesbian, gay and transgender people in health-care settings in Iran.
The following four issues are the focus of the suggested recommendations that should be made to Iran in this third cycle.
Iran’s new Islamic Penal Code (IPC), adopted in 2013, criminalizes consensual same-sex relations between adults and LGBT expressions such as what it so called ‘cross-dressing’ by severe and inhuman punishments including the death penalty and flogging.
Medicalization and pathologization
A range of medical practices, accompanying this criminalization, coerce LGBT people into reparative or conversion therapies, hormone treatments and sex reassignment, and forced sterilization. Being a trans person, while not a criminal offence, is seen as a gender identity disorder that is diagnosed through the account of same-sex desires and gender non-conformity and is considered ‘curable’ through the mentioned medical procedures. Such procedures are also a prerequisite to the legal gender recognition as expressed by the concerned individuals. LGB persons, however, have to choose between identifying as trans and undergoing these ‘curing’ procedures, or being categorized as criminal offenders with its accompanying risks. In any case, 6Rang has documented more than 3,000 accounts of substandard treatments and malpractices in the administration of these procedures.
Persecution and Harassment
The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is extremely hostile towards the LGBT community and any form of homosexual conduct or expression as well as any form of civil activism and defence of human rights that is concerned with sexual orientation and gender
identity. Our research shows that arbitrary arrests, violence and mistreatment by police forces, raids on private parties against the LGBT community are widespread.
Homophobic comments and incitement to hatred and violence against LGBT people is widespread in public domains. High-ranking IRI officials, religious leaders and state media continue to use hateful, derogatory and dehumanizing rhetoric against LGBT individuals, describing homosexuals as “animalistic”, “subhuman”, “sick” and “diseased”.
The following is a selection of our key recommendations
- With a view to fully decriminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults, repeal Articles 233-35 and 237-39 from the Islamic Penal Code (IPC) as these impose the death penalty and flogging for offences related to consensual same-sex conducts between adults and impose punitive measures based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
- End all forms of forced, or otherwise involuntary psychological, medical and surgical procedures designed to ‘reassign’ people’s sexual orientation, gender or sex characteristics without their free, prior and informed consent;
- Take the necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to guarantee respect for the autonomy and physical integrity of LGBT persons and prohibit the practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’, as well as other forced, involuntary, or otherwise coercive or abusive treatments such as electro-shock therapies and psychoactive medications against them;
- Ensure that human rights violations against all individuals irrespective of their sex, gender or sexual orientation are impartially and comprehensively investigated and, those responsible are held accountable;
- Modify Articles 10 and 110 of the Citizens Rights Charter accordingly in order to ban and refrain from making public statements that incite hatred, violence and discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.;
- Immediately and unconditionally release LGBT activists and human rights defenders from detention.
Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network –
Submission link: http://6rang.org/english/2488