Concluding Observations Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4 para 48 Full recommendation: The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures to ensure full respect for the right of children to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and that those rights not be subjected to undue and vague limitations but that restrictions to those rights comply with international standards. The Committee urges the State party to review its legislation in order to ensure that children under the age of 18 years are exempt from criminal responsibility for such content-based offences. Assessment using Impact Iran indicators1 Iran’s Penal Code contains multiple provisions that criminalise free expression. Content-based offenses such as propaganda against the State, insulting Islam (i.e. blasphemy), creating anxiety and unease in the public’s mind, and spreading false rumors carry with them penalties including prison, flogging, and even death.2 The Penal Code also makes it a crime to criticise state officials.3 Iranian law fails to define these terms, leaving them open to subjective and arbitrary interpretation.4 Major restrictions on print media are regulated under the Press Law (of 1986, amended in 2000) and the Islamic Penal Code (of 1991, ratified in 1996 and amended in 2013), as well as other statutes such as the Theologians’ Law and the Public and Revolutionary Courts’ Procedural Law (of 1999).5 ARTICLE 19 highlights the serious interference of editorial independence that is maintained under the Press Law.6 Under this law, the press are obliged to pursue at least one of five “legitimate objectives,” which include “to campaign against manifestations of imperialistic culture” and “to propagate and promote genuine Islamic culture and sound ethical principles,” and the press must “not undermine the realisation of the other goals or the principles of the Islamic Republic” (Article 2).7 Article 3 of the law holds that the press must restrict publications to “constructive criticism, while duly observing Islamic teaching and the best interest of the community,” and avoiding “insult, humiliation and detrimental effects.” Importantly, distribution 1 CRC.12.1.S.1; CRC.12.1.P.1; CRC.12.1.O.1; CCPR.21.1.S.1; CCPR.21.1.P.1; CCPR.21.1.O.1 ARTICLE 19, Computer Crimes in Iran: Online repression in practice (5 December 2013), available at: http://www. 3 Ibid. 4 ARTICLE 19 and PEN International, Joint Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review of the Islamic Republic of Iran (15 March 2014), available at: 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 2 1

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