Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief A/HRC/13/40/Add.1 para 146
Full recommendation
Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur would like to refer to General Assembly resolution
63/181, in which the Assembly urges States to step up their efforts to protect and promote
freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and to this end, to exert the utmost
efforts, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international
human rights law, to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are fully respected
and protected and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to
desecration and destruction. As mentioned, inter alia, in paragraph 4 of the Human
Rights Committee’s general comment no. 22, places of worship are an essential element
of the manifestation of the right to freedom of religion or belief to the extent that the
great majority of religious communities or communities of belief need the existence of a place of
worship where their members can manifest their faith. Moreover, unlike other forms of
violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief, attacks or other forms of
restriction on places of worship or other religious sites and shrines in many cases violate the
right not only of a single individual, but the rights of a group of individuals forming
the community that is attached to the place in question
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran names the Twelver Ja’fari School of Shia Islam
as the state religion and stipulates that “other Islamic schools are to be accorded full respect, and
their followers are free to act in accordance with their own jurisprudence in performing their
religious rites” (Article 12).2 Article 13 of the Constitution provides that the Zoroastrian, Jewish,
and Christian Iranians “are the only recognized religious minorities” under Iranian law. Because
there are no laws safeguarding the right of religious minorities to worship, maintain places of
worship or assemble, religious minorities are left without legal protection to manifest and
practice their religion or belief.
Religious minorities recognized by Articles 12 and 13 of the Constitution, have few places of
worship compared to their numbers. Sunnis are not allowed to build new mosques in major
cities, including Tehran. In addition, a number of Sunni religious seminaries have been destroyed
by the government3 and authorities have reportedly been closing Sunni mosques or preventing

1

CCPR.18.1.S.2; CCPR.18.1.P.2; CCPR.18.1.O.8
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wpcontent/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3 Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from All Human Rights for All in Iran, Association for Human Rights in
Kurdistan – Geneva, Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran, Iran Human Rights Documentation
Center, OutRight International, Siamak Pourzand Foundation, Small Media, Impact Iran, 2020,
<https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_NGO_IRN_42317_E.pdf>
2

1

Select target paragraph3