Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/43/61 para 68(k)
Full recommendation:
End the policy of prohibiting or severely limiting women’s attendance at public sporting events,
and bring both laws and policies protecting women’s rights into compliance with international
standards.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 3 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran stipulates that it is the duty of the
State 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 the
Islamic Republic of Iran is entrusted with the definition and determination of the framework of
what constitutes the “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 provisions supposedly safeguard the human
rights of women and protect them from discrimination, such legal guarantees exist as long as
they are in conformity with the “Islamic criteria.” The room for interpretation of what is to be
considered “in conformity with Islamic criteria” has often resulted in provisions that discriminate
or have a discriminatory impact 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 which directly discriminate between girls and
boys. 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
Additionally, a large number of provisions under the Iranian Civil Code are discriminatory
towards women. These provisions notably include the legal age of marriage,4 the share of

1
CCPR.2.1.S.1; CCPR.2.2.S.1; CCPR.3.1.S.1; CCPR.3.1.S.4; CCPR.23.4.S.1; CCPR.2.1.P.2; CCPR.2.3.P.1; CCPR.3.1.P.3;
CCPR.23.2.P.1; CCPR.2.3.O.4; CCPR.3.1.O.4
2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3
Criminal responsibility, Articles 140, 146 and 147 of the Islamic Penal Code, 2013 https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-ofbooks-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
4
Article 1041, Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. https://iranhrdc.org/the-civil-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran/

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