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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 7, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 40
New report on human rights violations in Iran
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New report on human rights violations in Iran

By Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new report by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Iranian Queer Organization details continuing human rights violations in Iran.

The report was issued as part of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review Process. Every four years the UNHRC requires U.N. members to report on their implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The U.N. process affords non-governmental organizations like the IGLHRC an opportunity to question and comment on the human rights records of individual governments.

According to its report, the IGLHRC found 'widespread and systematic human rights violations experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people; men who have sex with men (MSM); and women who have sex with women (WSW) in Iran despite the country's international obligations under the Covenant.'

The IGLHRC report - titled 'Human Rights Violations on the Basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Homosexuality in the Islamic Republic of Iran' - cites nine specific violations of rights guaranteed by the Covenant:

'The Penal Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran (the 'Penal Code') criminalizes all homosexual acts and actively punishes certain homosexual acts with death.

'The Penal Code fails to adequately differentiate between consensual and non-consensual sex and in some instances wrongly convicts victims and [excuses] rapists.

'Iranian authorities at the highest levels have repeatedly issued homophobic statements that amount to incitement to discrimination and violence.

'Lesbians live at the dangerous intersection of homophobia and patriarchy, which almost certainly results in decreased freedom of expression and increased risk of non-consensual sex and domestic violence.

'Transgender people may be penalized under laws criminalizing sodomy and laws policing dress codes and additionally may be denied the right to choose their self-expression.

'Individuals perceived to have committed homosexual acts are subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture in state custody, and denial of the right to a fair trial.

'Individuals concerned with LGBT rights violations - including human rights defenders, family members, and journalists - have been threatened with arrest and intimidated by police and security forces.

'Censorship of LGBT-related information is rife and includes wiretapping, shutting websites, and threat of arrest.

'The rights of individuals suspected of being LGBT to assembly and association are curtailed, with public events being virtually non-existent, private events being raided and resulting in arrests, and even state intervention to prohibit online assembly.'

The IGLHRC report concludes, 'The extent, breadth, and severity of the State of Iran's violations of the human rights of LGBT, MSM, and WSW Iranians amounts to a clear breach of the terms of the Covenant.'

Iran executed three men for the crime of 'sodomy' on Sept. 4. Those executions were unusual because Iranian authorities usually charge Gay men with rape or sexual assault as a pretext for hanging them.

Among the recommendations in the IGLHRC report are decriminalization of same-sex relations and an end to the death penalty for LGBT people, and making a clear legal distinction between consensual and non-consensual sex. Human rights activists and opponents of the Iranian regime say that between 4,000 and 6,000 Gay men and Lesbians have been executed by Iran for crimes related to their sexual orientation since the Islamic Republic was formed in 1979.

According to the AFP news agency, the Sept. 4 hangings brought the number of executions for all offenses in Iran this year to 180, based on media and official reports.

Iranian media reported 179 hangings last year but international human rights groups say the actual number was much higher, making Iran second only to China in the number of people it executed in 2010.

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