Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para 75 (g) Full recommendation: In order to promote and support the empowerment of women in all spheres of life, it is recommended that the Government: Listen to the voice of women. Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1 The legal framework of the Islamic Republic of Iran (“Iran”) does not protect the rights of women in all spheres of life. Article 3 of the Constitution of Iran stipulates that the State has a duty to work towards “the abolition of all forms of undesirable discrimination and the provision of equitable opportunities for all, in both the material and the intellectual spheres.”2 Article 20 of the Constitution guarantees that all citizens of Iran, men and women, enjoy the equal protection of the law and of rights, “in conformity with the Islamic criteria.” Article 21 of the Constitution emphasises that “the government must ensure the rights of women in all respects, in conformity with Islamic criteria”. According to Article 4 of the Constitution, the Guardian Council of Iran is entrusted with defining and determining the framework for what constitutes these so-called “Islamic criteria” or standards. Among the 12 non-elected members of the Guardian Council, only the six male clerics directly appointed by the Supreme Leader are responsible for such task. While the aforementioned constitutional provisions supposedly safeguard the rights of women and protect them from gender-based discrimination, such legal guarantees only exist as long as they are in conformity with “Islamic criteria.” The opportunity for interpretation allowed under the qualifications such as “in conformity with Islamic criteria” has often resulted in provisions that discriminate on various grounds, including gender. The Iranian Islamic Penal Code (2013) is largely based on the Government’s interpretation of Islamic Sharia precepts and contains provisions that discriminatorily differentiate between girls and boys under the criminal justice system. One of the most telling examples is the age of criminal responsibility, which is set at nine lunar years for girls (the Gregorian equivalent of eight years, nine months) and fifteen lunar years for boys (the Gregorian equivalent of fourteen years, seven months).3 1 ESCR.2.2.S.1; ESCR.3.2.S.1; CCPR.2.1.S.1; CCPR.2.2.S.1; CCPR.3.1.S.1 ESCR.2.2.P.1; ESCR.2.2.P.2; CCPR.2.1.P.1; CCPR.2.1.P.2; CCPR.3.1.P.1 ESCR.2.2.O.2; CCPR.2.1.O.3 2 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf 3 Articles 140, 146 and 147, Islamic Penal Code, https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penalcode/ 1

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