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UN Special Rapporteur concerned with forced and early marriages ahead of the upcoming UPR on Iran

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Justice for Iran | 28 October 2014 – During a Press Conference  held on October 26, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, expressed his concern regarding forced and early marriages of girls in Iran, just ahead of presenting his seventh report to the UN Human Rights Committee. According to Shaheed, current bills under consideration further deepen discrimination against women. In addition, referring to JFI findings analysing 2012 official statistics, the rate of marriage involving girls below the age of 10 rose to 1537, while more than 40,000 girls below the age of 15 faced marriage, and courts were permitted to sanction marriage involving girls below the age of 9.

Following Iran’s first UPR in February 2010, the Islamic Republic failed to accept any of the three recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity, or act on the ten recommendations it accepted regarding the rights of women and girls. Iran’ second UPR takes place on Friday 31 October 2014 in Geneva.

During a recent nationally televised interview, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Secretary General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, refrained from commenting on Shaheed’s report, particularly on homosexuality, forced and early marriage, and said: “We will respond to all issues in detail verbally and in writing through the media” and “in the upcoming UPR session later this week.” In reference to the right to free and full consent in marriage in the UN Declaration of the Right to Marriage and Family, Larijani exclaimed: “The west intends to impose and promote its new interpretation of marriage in the Islamic Republic and to us this is dangerous.”

Following Iran’s first UPR in February 2010, the Islamic Republic failed to accept any of the three recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity, or act on the ten recommendations it accepted regarding the rights of women and girls. Iran’ second UPR takes place on Friday 31 October 2014 in Geneva.

According to the statistics reflected in Shaheed’s report at least 48,580 girls between 10 and 14 years of age were married out of whom, except for 13, every single girl gave birth to at least one child before reaching the age of 15. In response Iran claims forced marriages are illegal and all such cases were based on mutual consent.

His report makes reference to other related violations such as the legal age for marriage set at 13, conditioning marriage for younger girls on court permission, and refusal by the Guardian Council in 2002 to increase the minimum age to 15 while more recently Iranian MPs moved to accommodate adoptive parents marrying adopted children.

Shaheed’s criticism of gender pay gap

The Special Rapporteur also expressed his concern regarding lack of equal pay for women and men. He also highlighted gender-based discrimination in accessing higher education: “female student admission rate of 62% in 2007-2008 has dropped down to 48% in 2012-2013.” Meanwhile Larijani claims “with regards to education we have progress well and women have made great advances.”

During a recent nationally televised interview, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Secretary General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, refrained from commenting on Shaheed’s report, particularly on homosexuality, forced and early marriageDuring a recent nationally televised interview, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Secretary General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, refrained from commenting on Shaheed’s report, particularly on homosexuality, forced and early marriage

Larijani also states the Islamic Republic supports Universal Periodic Review (UPR): “…it is a regular report and we accept it; Iran has prepared a report following collaboration with organisations and supervision of the High Council for Human Rights, one of the most organised reports so far.”

In its report Iran writes it has implemented all recommendations it accepted in 2010 with the exception of only four. However, a cursory examination of Iran’s human rights record over the past four years and its report this year points to its failure to address many recommendations and issues submitted to the UN.

Over the past two months JFI has briefed more than 70 permanent missions at the UN in Geneva in order to present facts and recommendations regarding the situation of LGBT people and a number of issues pertaining to women’s rights.

JFI also submitted a shadow report with some recommendations on girl marriages, forced hijab, and the situation of homosexual and transgender citizens in Iran to the UN Human Rights Council, as well as recommendations regarding the new policies pertaining to family planning to various member states.

Source: http://justice4iran.org/english/?p=9560

No Expected Changes in Upcoming UPR on Iran

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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism by the UN Human Rights Council(HRC) to review the state of human rights in 42 states once every 4.5 years. Its recommendations are handed over to the reviewed country which can either accept them or not. The working group in charge of the UPR is composed of UN members, including the State under Review (SuR), but is open also to relevant NGO’s.

The next UPR on Iran is scheduled for the 31st of October.

Iran implements 2.3% of all recommendation from last UPR

In the last UPR on Iran from 2010, a total of 212 recommendations were placed by 51 countries – Iran accepted 126 recommendations.

To date, it has implemented 5 and partially implemented another 30. The unimplemented recommendations represent the suffering of Iranians under a regime which does not tolerate human rights. You can find an interactive map of all recommendations here.

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The lack of implementation doesn’t come as a big surprise for people interested in human rights in Iran but it should shake up a bit the supporters of the regime in Iran. More importantly, it should serve as a clear mirror to shatter the hypocrisy of Iranian leaders who keep on denying that the regime in Tehran is a serial offender of human rights.

Two people who should answer to the UPR but won’t

Two people in particular should have to answer openly to the UPR on Iran.

The first is Javad Larijani, Iran’s human rights chief.

Unfortunately, he systematically denies any problem of human rights in Iran, believes that being gay is a sickness and condones the use of torture, stoning and hanging because they are an integral part of Sha’ariah law. He also denies the existence of political prisoners, religious persecution, and basically any reports of human rights violations in Iran. Based on his modem operandi, he will probably evade and/or deny all accusations and follow up with accusations of his own that the UPR is political and does not accept the cultural and religious laws on which the Islamic Republic of Iran was born.

Chances are, he will evade, deny, accuse and rant profusely and won’t come even close to accept, answer or change anything that turns up in the review.

The second person who should answer to the UPR is President Rouhani.

Rouhani, pegged early on as a moderate, won his presidency on a ticket of change inforeign policy and human rights.

He did live up partially to half of his promises: His open foreign policy led to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 and to an unceasing list of foreign delegations of diplomats and businessmen to Tehran who are eager for sanctions to be lifted in order to make money…lots of money. The result of his efforts is evident in a big boost in the economy as well as numerous political and economic deals within and outside of the framework of the sanctions.

Unfortunately, Rouhani’s interior policy doesn’t live up to his promises and can be summed up in one word: silence. Rouhani has, for over a year, managed to dodge any questions regarding human rights violations in Iran even when faced with mounting evidence of abuses including state-promoted gender segregation, the highest rate of hangings to date, brutal cases of torture, amputations and floggings, imprisonment of political opponents and journalists, persecution of religious women, gays and religious minorities, clamping down on the freedom of speech and use of the internet and on and on and on.

Here’s a video which outlines the gap between his rhetoric and the reality in Iran.

He has remained silent to date and will probably remain silent.

On human rights and WMD’s

The violations of human rights in Iran and the repeated denials of the regime in Tehran symbolize not only the suffering of the Iranian people but also testify to the regime’s insistence to live according to its own perceptions with total disregard to international norms. The regime in Tehran is not open to criticism from within or from without and prefers to work only through the principles of the Islamic Revolution and the word of their Supreme Leader Khamenei.

It is this mindset that has led to the impasse on Tehran’s nuclear program as a result of multiple accounts of breaches of IAIA requirements and a low level of transparency. The growing suspicions on a military aspect to the nuclear program led to the crippling sanctions which, in a way, brought on the presidency of Rouhani and the need to negotiate. Some commentators believe that Rouhani is focusing first on his foreign policy and that once he inks a nuclear deal he will try to make right on his promises for better human rights. Maybe…or maybe the regime will continue to thumb its nose at its people and the world.

Source: Iran 24/07

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