Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 para 75 (e)

Full recommendation:
In order to promote and support the empowerment of women in all spheres of life, it is
recommended that the Government: Ensure that women enjoy full freedom and rights to become
equal partners in decision-making in the home, at work and in society at large.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
A. It is recommended that the Government ensures that women fully enjoy full freedom
and rights to become equal partners in decision making in the home
Article 3 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (“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 Iran is entrusted with defining
and determining the framework of what constitutes these “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 ostensibly 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 scope for interpretation allowed under 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 Iranian 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

1
CCPR.3.1.S.1; CCPR.3.1.S.3; CCPR.12.2.S.1; CCPR.23.1.S.1; CCPR.23.3.S.1; CCPR.23.4.S.1; CCPR.3.1.P.1; CCPR.12.2.P.1;
CCPR.23.1.P.1; CCPR.23.3.P.1; CCPR.23.4.P.1; CCPR.23.1.O.1; CCPR.23.3.O.1; CCPR.23.4.O.1; CCPR.3.1.O.1;
CCPR.3.1.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

Select target paragraph3