Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para.73.g

Full recommendation:
In order to enhance women’s access to justice through a transparent legal and judiciary reform it
is recommended that the Government:
Ensure that punishments do not discriminate against women, that they are proportionate to the
offence, and that they are determined by a court of law in accordance with the principles of
equality and non-discrimination.

Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 3 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution obliges the government to ensure the
universal rights of individuals, including men and women, justice for all, and equal protection of
the public in law. In addition, Article 20 of the Constitution emphasizes that all people of the
nation, both men and women, are equally protected by law, and enjoy all human, political,
economic, social and cultural rights, in accordance with “Islamic standards.” Article 21 of the
Constitution similarly obliges the government to guarantee the rights of women in all respects, in
accordance with “Islamic standards.”
Although these principles are ostensibly designed to prevent all forms of discrimination, including
discrimination on the basis of gender, the inclusion of the term in the "Framework of Islamic
Standards" in practice enables gender discrimination in law and influences the manner in which it
is enforced. Article 4 of the Constitution entrusts the authority to determine and define the
"Framework of Islamic Standards" to the Guardian Council, which consists of 12 non-elected
members, six of whom are mujtahid clerics (appointed directly by the Supreme Leader) who are
responsible for this mandate.2 The views, actions and opinions of the Shiite clerics who are
members of this council are such that according to the rules of Islam, men and women are not
considered equal in many issues and this is why, when the principles of the constitution are bound
by the "framework of Islamic norms", in practice, discrimination on the basis of gender is implicit.3
Laws in Iran discriminate on the basis of gender, including discrimination in type and severity of
punishment. Despite the fact that the constitution4 emphasizes the prohibition of discrimination
1

CCPR.2.1.S.1; CCPR.3.1.S.1; CCPR.14.1.S.1; CCPR.2.1.P.1; CCPR.14.1.O.3
The part of the Guardian Council’s mandate that is on determination of Islamic Standard is exclusively responsible for these six
cleric members and other six non-cleric members can not be effective in the decision process.
3
Gender inequalities, such as inequality in the age of criminal responsibility (articles 140, 146 and 147 of the IPC), inequality in
the share of inheritance (articles 861 to 948 of the Civil Code), inequality in the age of marriage (article 1041 of the Civil Code),
inequality in the rights of husband and wife in marriage (articles 1102 to 1119 and 1133 to 1142 of the Civil Code), inequality in
the custody of children (articles 1169 to 1173 of the Civil Code), inequality in the right to work (article 1117 of the Civil Code),
inequality in the validity of testimony in court (articles 174 to 200 of the IPC), inequality in blood money (articles 549 to 575 of
the IPC), and inequality in the share of employment, are among the inequalities that are based on gender in Iranian law.
4
Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution: https://www.iranchamber.com/government/laws/constitution.php
2

1

Select target paragraph3