Human Rights Violations on the Basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Homosexuality in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Introduction

This report is a joint submission by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (“the Committee”) on the occasion of its consideration of the third periodic report of the Government of Iran on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“the Covenant”).

The purpose of this report is to highlight the widespread and systematic human rights violations experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people; men who have sex with men (MSM); and women who have sex with women (WSW) in Iran despite the country’s international obligations under the Covenant.

In particular, IGLHRC and IRQO draw the attention of the Committee to the following human rights violations.

  • The Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran (“the Penal Code”) criminalizes all homosexual acts and actively punishes certain homosexual acts with death.
  • The Penal Code fails to adequately differentiate between consensual and non-consensual sex and in some instances wrongly convicts victims and recuses rapists.
  • Iranian authorities at the highest levels have repeatedly issued homophobic statements that amount to incitement to discrimination and violence.
  • Lesbians live at the dangerous intersection of homophobia and patriarchy, which almost certainly results in decreased freedom of expression and increased risk of non-consensual sex and domestic violence.
  • Transgender people may be penalized under laws criminalizing sodomy and laws policing dress codes and additionally may be denied the right to choose their self-expression.
  • Individuals perceived to have committed homosexual acts are subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture in state custody, and denial of the right to a fair trial.
  • Individuals concerned with LGBT rights violations -- including human rights defenders, family members, and journalists – have been threatened with arrest and intimidated by police and security forces.
  • Censorship of LGBT-related information is rife and includes wiretapping, shutting websites, and threat of arrest.
  • The rights of individuals suspected of being LGBT to assembly and association are curtailed, with public events being virtually non-existent, private events being raided and resulting in arrests, and even state intervention to prohibit online assembly.

The extent, breadth and severity of the State of Iran’s violations of the human rights of LGBT, MSM, and WSW Iranians amounts to a clear breach of the terms of the Covenant .

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