Concluding observations Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4 para
92(a)
Full recommendation:
Increase the age of criminal responsibility for girls, and ensure that girls and boys are treated
on equal terms under the whole criminal justice system.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 20 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran 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”.2 While these 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 phrase “in conformity with
Islamic criteria” is open to interpretation and 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 state’s interpretation of Islamic
Sharia3 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 in
solar years) and fifteen lunar years for boys (equivalent of fourteen years, seven months in solar
years).4 The Islamic Republic of Iran has not increased the age of criminal responsibility for girls
nor does it seem that the Government has been considering such change.
Other provisions under the Iranian criminal justice system discriminate between girls and boys.
To name a few, a girl over the age of nine, or a woman’s testimony, is valued at half that of a
man’s5, or not even considered6, in some proceedings. The Islamic Penal Code (2013) also
1

CCPR.2.1.S.1
CCPR.2.1.P.1; CCPR.2.1.P.2
2
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitutionenglish-1368.pdf
3
According to article 98 of the Constitution, the Guardian Council, which combine of 12 member (6 directly appointee of the
Supreme Leader, and other 6 members indirectly appointee of the Supreme Leader) is in charge of interpretation of the
Constitution and also according to article 94, the same Council is incharge to examine all legislation decision that is made by the
parliament in order to make sure that the law is not against the Sharia principles.
4
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/
5
Islamic Penal Code, 2013, Articles 74, 75 199, English Translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-one-book-two/
6
Islamic Penal Code, 2013, Article 119, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/islamic-penal-code-of-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-book-one-book-two/

1

Select target paragraph3