Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/37/68 para 97
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government to ensure the protection of the rights of LGBT
and intersex individuals by repealing laws that punish people based on their sexual orientation
and gender identity, and enacting effective anti-discrimination laws, and to ban forced and
involuntary treatment and medical procedures.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
A. The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government to ensure the protection of the
rights of LGBT and intersex individuals by repealing laws that punish people
based on their sexual orientation and gender identity
Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran guarantees that all people enjoy
equal rights, “whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong” and that “color, race,
language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege”.2 However, the Constitution lacks an explicit
provision recognizing sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected characteristics.
Article 20 of the Constitution states that “All citizens of the country, both men and women,
equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and
cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria”.3 The stipulation of “Islamic criteria”
excludes lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals from this legal guarantee as same sex relations are
penalized under the Iranian ‘Islamic Penal Code’.4
The 2013 Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran explicitly forbids sexual relations between
same-sex partners, whether such relations are consensual or coerced. The offences and
punishments for males engaged in same-sex sexual or intimate conduct (including acts such as
kissing or lustful touching) are described in Articles 233 to 237. Depending on whether the
convicted individual is an active/passive partner, married/single, or whether they are
Muslim/non-Muslim, the punishment can range from flogging to the death penalty. The 2013
Penal Code also criminalizes female same-sex relations and intimate conduct through Articles

1

CCPR.26.1.S.1; ESCR.2.2.S.1; ESCR.12.2.4.S.1; ESCR.13.1.S.1 ; CCPR.26.1.P.1; ESCR.2.2.P.1; ESCR.2.2.P.2;
ESCR.2.2.P.3; CCPR.26.1.O.2; ESCR.2.2.O.2; ESCR.6.1.O.3; ESCR.9.1.O.7; ESCR.12.1.O.9; ESCR.12.2.4.O.1;
ESCR.13.2.O.3; ESCR.13.1.S.1; ESCR.13.2.O.6
2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, http://www.iranchamber.com/government/laws/constitution_ch03.php
3
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, http://www.iranchamber.com/government/laws/constitution_ch03.php
4
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/denied-identity-human-rights-abuses-against-irans-lgbtcommunity/#2

1

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