IGLHRC Criticizes Iran’s Refusal to Accept International Community’s Demands to Respect LGBT Rights

For Immediate Release Thursday, March 19, 2015

(New York) — The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) today expressed deep dismay over the Iranian government’s rejection in whole or in part of 13 recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity put forward during the United Nation’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran.

Among the recommendations rejected by the Islamic Republic of Iran are requests by Argentina, Uruguay, Iceland, Luxembourg, Chile, Canada, Italy, Israel and Spain to end legal discrimination and prosecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation as well as ending the criminalization of consensual same-sex relations.

Iran meanwhile, without a full explanation, partially accepted recommendations by Denmark, the Netherlands, and Iceland that had components related to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Denmark called on Iran to “ensure freedom from torture, while in detention, for all, regardless of sexual orientation,” while the Netherlands urged Iran to “ensure that religious, ethnic and sexual minorities are able to exercise their rights and freedoms, as guaranteed by the Iranian Constitution.” Iceland’s recommendation was related to the ban of “forced or coerced sterilization, sex reassignment surgeries and reparative therapies imposed without fee and informed consent.” However, Iran did not explain clearly why it only partly accepted the recommendations. “The full implementation of some of these recommendations is contrary to our constitution, basic law and Islamic values,” the government stated, without a fuller explanation.

This is not the first time that Iran has defied the international community’s demand to decriminalize consensual same-sex relations and uphold the rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Over the past five years, the Iranian government has dismissed requests by the U.N. Human Rights Committee (2011) and the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2013). In addition, Iran rejected requests by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran. During the first UPR of Iran in 2010, the government dismissed all recommendations related to sexual orientation and gender identity. “The Iranian government’s discriminatory and abusive laws and practices targeting gender non-conforming individuals negates the very notion of the universality of human rights,” said Hossein Alizadeh, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator for IGLHRC. “Its response is a rejection of the inherent dignity, equality and basic rights promised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”