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IHRDC Releases Report on Human Rights Violations against LGBT Persons in Iran

IHRDC Releases Report on Human Rights Violations against LGBT Persons in Iran

November 7, 2013

(New Haven, USA) — Today, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) released “Denied Identity: Human Rights Abuses against Iran’s LGBT Community”—an in-depth examination of the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).  The full report is available here.

“Denied Identity” draws on analysis of past and present versions of the IRI’s Islamic Penal Code, as well as witness interviews with Iranian LGBT persons who were victims of discrimination and abuse, to show the systematic nature of these violations, and their contravention of international laws.

Since its inception, the IRI has discriminated, in law and in practice, against its lesbian and gay population. While transgender Iranians are legally protected if they start the sex-change process, there is significant concern that gay and lesbian individuals could be unnecessarily encouraged to undergo sex-reassignment surgery.

In addition, LGBT Iranians are subject to a wide range of abusive and discriminatory practices such as custodial rape, arrests at social functions, expulsion from educational institutions and denial of employment opportunities.  LGBT Iranians also face abuse and mistreatment from their families and society at large with minimal, if any, protection from the Iranian state.

“While the global trend is towards legalization of gay marriage, and increased protections of rights for LGBT persons, Iranian laws continue to sanction corporal punishment—and even death—for homosexual acts,” said Gissou Nia, executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. “Until Iranian officials recognize that deep legal reforms are needed to protect the rights of this minority group, we will continue to see large numbers of LGBT persons leave their home country and seek refuge outside Iran’s borders.”

Concerns about the status of LGBT rights in Iran are long-standing. In his March 2013 report, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, stated that Iran’s LGBT community “face harassment, persecution, cruel punishment and are denied basic human rights.”  In response to Dr. Shaheed’s report, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the chair of the IRI’s High Council for Human Rights referred to homosexuality as a “deadly sin” and denied that the IRI’s international obligations requires the country to abandon its practices regarding its LGBT citizens.

For further information, please contact:

Gissou Nia
Executive Director
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

Phone: +1 203 654 9342

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