Concluding Observation Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
E/C.12/IRN/CO/2 para 31
Full recommendation:
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive antidiscrimination bill
in compliance with article 2, paragraph 2, of the Covenant and taking into account the
Committee’s general comment No. 20 (2009) on non-discrimination in economic, social and
cultural rights.
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.
During its last Universal Periodic Review (November 2019), the Government of the Islamic
Republic of Iran stated that the Act on Protection, Dignity and Security of Women against
Violence, will be “aimed at criminalising new forms of assault, harassment and violations of the
rights of women and adopting preventive and support measures to stop violence against
women.”3 In January 2020, the U.N. Secretary General expressed concerns about the slow
progress that has been made on the bill that seeks to criminalises violence and sexual misconduct
against women and specifies punishments for perpetrators, which has been under review since

1

ESCR.2.2.S.1 ; ESCR.2.2.P.1 ; ESCR.2.2.P.3 ; ESCR.2.2.O.1 ; ESCR.2.2.O.2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitution-english-1368.pdf
3
https://undocs.org/A/HRC/WG.6/34/IRN/1
2

1

Select target paragraph3