Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/22/56 para 78(c)
Full recommendation:
Desist from actions designed to injure or intimidate those who work to identify human rights
violations, promote redress, and those that may cooperate with international human rights
mechanisms.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), adopted by consensus by the UN
General Assembly in 1998, recognizes the role of HRDs in the advancement of human rights,
often exposing them to additional and specific risks and thus requiring specific measures for their
protection. While the Declaration is not, in itself, a binding document, it articulates existing
international human rights in a context applicable to the work of HRDs. Notably, the Declaration
reiterates the State’s duty to protect the rights to freedom of expression,2 assembly3 and
association4 for all, and specifically calls on States to guarantee these rights as they are crucial
for any type of human rights work.5
Article 27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran6 ostensibly protects the right to
freedom of peaceful assembly, however only if it is not “in violation of the fundamental
principles of Islam.” There is no clear definition or criteria that define what can be considered
“fundamental principles of Islam,” therefore granting the State with significant leeway to restrict
the rights that contain such condition. Similar restrictions can also be found under Article 2 of
the Law on Political Crimes, adopted in 2016, where stipulated that participation in an
unauthorized assembly, even if it is peaceful, can effectively be considered a political offence.7
Similarly, the right to freedom of expression, recognised under Article 24 of the Constitution is
restricted if “deemed harmful to the principles of Islam or the rights of the public”. Article 40
further allows for restrictions of rights, including peaceful assembly, if their exercise is deemed
“injurious to others” or “detrimental to public interests”. Similar provisions restrict the right to
freedom of expression online through the criminalization of vaguely worded offences such as the

1
CCPR.19.2.S.1; CCPR.19.3.S.1; CCPR.21.1.S.1; CCPR.22.1.S.2; CCPR.21.1.P.1; CCPR.21.1.P.2;
CCPR.19.2.O.2;
CCPR.19.2.O.5; CPPR.21.1.O.2 ; CCPR.21.1.O.3; CCPR.22.1.O.1
2
Article 19, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
3
Article 21, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
4
Article 22, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
5
OHCHR, https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/srhrdefenders/pages/declaration.aspx
6
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitutionenglish-1368.pdf
7
The 2016 Law on Political Crimes, available at: https://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/968421

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