Advocacy statements

Impunity for human rights violations in Iran

  • Date / 2021
  • Location / Iran
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention


International Humanist and Ethical Union

UN Human Rights Council, 46th Session (22 February to 23 March 2021)

Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in

the Islamic Republic of Iran

Thank you Madame President.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for mentioning the ongoing arbitrary detention of human rights defenders Golrokh Iraee and Soheil Arabi, and the case of academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who remains at imminent risk of execution.

In 1988, thousands of political prisoners in Iran were executed, their bodies dumped in unmarked graves.[1] Iran has not acknowledged the massacre. [ Some of those involved are still in government, including the current Justice Minister.[2]] This crime [- a crime against humanity -] set the stage for a culture of impunity around State violence to proliferate.

We urge the Special Rapporteur to call for a UN Commission of Inquiry to address impunity for human rights violations in Iran, starting with the 1988 massacre and up to and including the unlawful killing of protesters in 2018-2019.

A culture of impunity in Iran also pervades with respect to gender-based violence. The draft domestic violence bill has been a decade in the making, yet fails to address the issues of marital rape, discriminatory personal status laws, and child marriage,[3] and by emphasizing the need to protect the “modesty and virtues of Muslim women”, may end up further criminalizing women’s rights activists.[4]

We are deeply concerned by revelations in the report of torture, including electric shocks and drugging, being used against LGBTI children, and the argument that these so-called “therapies” have been administered “with consent.” Conversion therapy is a human rights violation – and cannot be consented to.[5]

We urge Iran to ratify the CEDAW convention.[6] And we ask whether the Special Rapporteur has any specific recommendations with regards to the protection of LGBTI rights?

Thank you.


[1] https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1394212018ENGLISH.PDF

[2] https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25503

[3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/12/04/iran-adopt-draft-law-protect-women

[4] https://iranintl.com/en/iran/bill-protect-women-targets-iran-rights-activists-instead-violence

[5] https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/44/53

[6] Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1979.

Suggested academic reference

'Impunity for human rights violations in Iran', Humanists International

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