Concluding observations Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/79/Add.25 para 21
Full recommendation:
The Committee recommends that active measures should be taken to enhance the status of
women in the Islamic Republic of Iran in accordance with articles 2, 3 and 23 of the Covenant
and to guarantee their equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 3 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran stipulates that it is a 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
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 emphasizes 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 defining and determining 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 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 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 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 (equivalent to eight years, nine months)
and fifteen lunar years for boys (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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