What follows is part one of the full text of Iran's reply to the UN report.
Detailed Reply of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
In the name of God
Presented to the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council (March 2013)
I. Women's rights
A. Honor killings
B. Civil and Political Rights
C. Economic and Social Rights
D. Early Marriage E. Freedom of travel and transport
II. Free and fair elections
IV. Torture and other inhuman punishment, cruel and degrading
V. Freedom of expression, assembly and association:
A. Journalists and citizens
B. Human rights defenders
VI. Sexual orientation
VII. Ethnic minorities:
VIII. Religious minorities:
D. Other religious and spiritual groups
IX. Economic and social rights
A. Right to education
B. Economic sanctions
X. Conclusions and recommendations
Following to the brief answer of the I.R. Iran to the report of the Special Rapporteur due to the provision of inadequate time, a detailed answer to the report is submitted as follows:
The Islamic Republic of Iran has constantly taken steps toward promotion of human rights at national and international levels. Our efforts to promote human rights have been based on our religious obligations and adherence to the constitutional and ordinary laws of the country and our commitments under international treaties. We are committed to promotion of human rights both in our deeds and words. Submission of national report under the UPR mechanism, cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner, invitation of the High commissioner for Human Rights to visit the Country and visit by the OHCHR to Iran in December 2011 to facilitate the visit of the High Commissioner to Iran are examples of our cooperation [sic].
Cooperation with the thematic mandate holders shall remain the principled position of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since 2003, six thematic rapporteurs visited Iran, which is still a high number of visits paid by the Council mandate Holders to a country in the region. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes in serious cooperation with international bodies and has continuously reported to related committees on international conventions and found itself legally bound to implement its international obligations. In this regard, Iran defended its third periodic report on the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights last year and in May this year will appear before the Committee on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights to defend its report on the Covenant on Social, economic and Cultural Rights. The l. R. Iran declares its readiness to continue with this cooperation and in recent years responded to considerable communications of HRC rapporteurs. Therefore, mere mentioning figures as cases of human rights violation without referring to Iran's responses reduce credibility of the report. Such approach cannot prepare the ground for dialogue and promotion of engagement with the I.R Iran.
The Special Rapporteur in his report instead of referring to credible, and official sources, and considering trends and human rights pattern in Iran engaged in prejudgment and used incredible and unofficial sources. He therefore pointed out unreal details and breached principles of impartiality, independence and transparency.
As it was referred to in the brief response we again emphasize that:
I - The assessment of the SR on the continuation of widespread systemic and systematic violation of human rights in Iran seems totally flawed since:
I/I- The report which is partial and biased disregards realities on the ground, as well as principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality, and has violated paragraph g of the preamble of the Code of the [sic] Conduct (which makes it unfit for appraisal);
1/2- References to allegations of unspecified non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and individuals as the core sources of the report (against provision of Article 6a and Article 8g of resolution 5/2 on the Code of Conduct) can by no means authenticate its content. Basically, inclusion of disconnected and baseless subjects in a report (in contradiction with the provision of Article 3a of the document 5/2) has led the draft report to lose its credibility. No sound judgment could be made on unverifiable claims.
1/3- Against the allegations made in the introduction of the draft report on the violation of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of people in law and in practice, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes in serious cooperation with international bodies and has continuously reported to related committees on international conventions and found itself legally bound to implement its international obligations. In this regard, Iran defended its third periodic report on the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights last year and in May this year will appear before the Committee on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights to defend its report on the Covenant on Social, economic and Cultural Rights. Therefore, claims on the "culture of impunity" and "weakening impact of the human rights instruments" are totally baseless and rejected (claims which are made in disrespect to Articles 6a and 12a of the resolution 5/2).
It has to be further emphasized that using expressions such as "widespread systemic and systematic violation of human rights" and "fostering culture of impunity" by the Special Rapporteur are strictly against the Code of Conduct which requires adopting clear and unambiguous language. Besides, such terms are inconsistent with the content of the draft report itself. It seems that the UN human rights mechanism should seriously reconsider recruiting unprofessional Rapporteurs [sic] with partial and biased attitudes (the Special Rapporteur has violated Articles 3 and 5 of resolution 5/2)
Taking into account the above mentioned considerations, it seems that in preparation of the draft report motivations beyond and above the UN mechanisms were involved.
2- The phrase "cumulative and systematic" (used in paragraph 2 of the report) is not valid and baseless. It is proposed in a non-technical, unprofessional and biased context and disrespects the provisions of Article 3f and Article 5 of resolution 5/2.
Undoubtedly, terms such as "systematic, cumulative or widespread" each bear specific connotation. Therefore, it deserves to be asked that why the Rapporteur who according to his mandate should base his work on impartiality and honesty, and should look for facts based on objective and reliable information derived from valid sources, so recklessly and unprofessionally makes in his report unreliable assumptions based on false claims? As a matter of fact, the Special Rapporteur in gathering required information should act under the guidance and observance of such principles as transparency, impartiality and fairness as foreseen in paragraph 8a of resolution 5/2. However, the performance of Rapporteur and making baseless and unreliable claims has deeply undermined the process of confidence-building and cooperation with him.
2/1- The Rapporteur argues that the scope of the human rights situation prevents him to address all dimensions in the report. The Rapporteur, in disrespect of Article 3e of resolution 5/2, piles up scattered, heterogeneous and undocumented materials to produce a dubious draft and by resorting to such claims tries to cover up serious defects in the draft report or to justify them.
2/2- The Rapporteur, since his appointment has disrespected several provisions of resolution 5/2. However, in his latest report he has regretfully gone further and predicts the future. He claims about deterioration of the situation based on a possibility in future that is next presidential election in June 2013. Without doubt, the possibility judgments are futile. Comparing 2009 presidential election with the next one is erroneous and such flawed comparison seriously undermines and questions credibility of draft report altogether. [sic]
3- The Special Rapporteur, without providing reasonable proves and solely based on media allegations, has (in paragraph 6 of his report) referred to the "reprisal cases" and offers an erroneous interpretation of the facts. He confined himself to mentioning of some names without complete information. Because of numerous similar names, he made the investigation almost impossible. Moreover, the general phrase "in a file" without mentioning of the number of the dossier removed the possibility of clearing cases in paragraph 6 of the report. [sic]
4- In relation to paragraph 7 of the draft report, first of all charges against 5 persons mentioned in the paragraph are pure lie because [sic]:
4/1- Mr. Ahmed Tamoie accused of armed activities and membership of the PJAK terrorist group, after investigation, and fair hearing, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and is serving his sentence.
4/2- Mr. Yosof Kak, accused of armed activities and membership of the PJAK terrorist group, after investigation, and fair hearing, was sentenced to 9 years in prison and is serving his sentence.
4/3- Mr. Jahangir Badvzadh charged of armed robbery, disturbing public order, assault, and purchasing and storing weapons, escape from prison, public intimidation, after investigation and fair trial sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and returning of robbed properties. He is serving his prison term.
4/4- Mr. Ali Ahmed Suleirnan, charged of being a member of the terrorist group PJAK, armed activities, two counts of murder and is in temporary detention and his case is under investigation.
4/5 - Mr. Mustafa Ali Ahmed, charged of membership in the PJAK terrorist group, armed actions and propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, after investigation, and fair hearing was sentenced to a total of 10 years and 6 months after the finality of verdict is serving his prison term.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, guaranteeing rights of prisoners based on legal provisions and regulations of prisons and safeguarding measures and educational organizations, facilities such as frequent meetings with relatives, having adequate health care facilities, access to amenities, shops, barbershop, Sports Club, education and culture facilities, cinema, library, etc. are foreseen. So, claims of investigation for contacting the Special Rapporteur and torture and solitary confinement are seriously refuted. Therefore, the Rapporteur ignoring regulations in Iran has repeated his untrue claims and therefore, breached Article 6 of the Code of Conduct.
I. Rights of women:
The I.R. Iran has carried out promotional measures on the rights of women and is committed to the economic, social, cultural and educational advancement of women. The following is some of those measures:
One of the legislative measures on enjoyment of women of all economic, social and cultural right is the adoption of the Law on Rights and Responsibilities of Women (2006) by the Islamic Republic of Iran. This law underscores the following rights for women:
- Right to self-reliance
- Right of ownership
- Right to work
- Right to establish trade associations
- Freedom of expression and assembly in accordance with the norms.
- Right to establish parties and other political associations and right to participate in their activities by observing independence of the country, national unity and overall interests of the Islamic system of government.
- Right to participate in elections and to be elected to the Islamic Consultative Assembly, to various legislative councils, to participate in government planning and to assume high management positions by observing the norms.
- Right to social security
- Right to food, clothing and housing.
- Right to physical and mental health.
- Right to education
- Right to participate in cultural life.
In the area of policy making, one of the fundamental measures by the Islamic Republic of Iran to elevate the status of women is the drafting and adoption of the strategic document by the Center for Women and Family Affairs of president's Office in 2010. This document includes goals and strategies that generally relate to all activities by government agencies in relation to women and family. Article 21 of the Constitution obliges the government to create a favorable environment for the enhancement of woman's personality and the restoration of her rights, both the material and intellectual ones; for the protection of mothers, particularly during pregnancy and child-rearing years, and the establishing competent courts to protect and preserve the family; and for the provision of special insurance for widows, the aged women, and women without support.
The Twenty-Year Vision of the country, adopted in 2005, takes into its full view the need for elevating the status of women and family in all social arenas, restoration of all Sharia and legal rights of women in all fields of human endeavors and according greater attention to their constructive role. Article 158 of the Third Development Plan underscores measures to strengthen the institution of family by following means:
- Identifying educational, cultural and sports needs of women in accordance with Islamic principles, and strengthening their role in the development of the country.
- Promoting employment opportunities.
- Facilitating access to courts and judicial recourse.
- Supporting the formation of NGO's that support women heads of households and women without legal support in the less developed parts of the country.
Article 111 of the Fourth Development Plan obliges the government to take measures such as those listed below for the purpose of elevating the role of women in the society, promoting opportunities and increasing the level of women participation in the affairs of the country:
- Adoption and implementation of comprehensive programs for women participation, including review of legislations and regulations, especially the Civil Code, strengthening the skills of women that are appropriate for the needs of the society and technological developments, identifying and elevating quality of life of women.
- Taking all necessary measures, including preventive programs to end violence against women.
- Presenting bills on supporting creation and expansion of NGO's, community-based organizations and women organizations to the parliament for the purpose of implementing article 111 of the Fourth Development Plan. A special line has been set aside for this purpose in the national budget.
- Drafting and adoption of "Comprehensive Development Plan for the Center for Women and Family Affairs" on the basis of Article 230 of the Fifth Five-year Development Plan of the Islamic Republic of Iran that includes provisions concerning ways to strengthen the institution of family, review of laws and regulations, prevention of social harms, developing and managing economic and livelihood affairs and enhancing the capabilities of women with leadership qualities and promotion of health.
The Center for Women and Family Affairs has drafted a bill on safety and security of women. One of the purposes of this bill is to prevent violence against women and to support victims and those likely to be targets of violence. According to this bill, violence against women is defined and criminalized under different circumstances.
The constitutional and civil law of the Islamic Republic of Iran do not place any barrier for ownership by women of housing, land, movable and immovable property. Women in Iran currently possess 28,652,912 deeds of property.
It is noteworthy that numerous bodies and institutions have been set up to elevate status of women in the country:
- Special Committee on Women and Youth in the State Expediency Council.
- Socio-Cultural Council of women affiliated to The High Council for Cultural Revolution.
- The Center for women and family affairs affiliated to presidential office.
- Women Caucus in the Islamic Consultative Assembly.
- Women and Youth Working Group in the High Council for Planning and Development in Provincial Administrations.
- Offices for Women and Family Affairs in the ministries and all agencies and instrumentalities of government.
- The Commission for the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in the Judiciary.
- Center for Strategic Studies in the judiciary with the mission to prepare mechanisms for the advancement of the rights of women.
Among other important steps for the advancement of women mention can be made of the following achievements:
- Increasing the level of health, culture and literacy of women nationwide; this has led to reduction of maternal mortality and improvement of other indicators.
- Promotion of women members of Scientific Boards of universities and Educational institutes.
- Increasing the quota in institutions of higher learning for medical assistants for neurosurgeons, urologists, orthopedists, ear, throat and nose specialist, ophthalmologists and other medical professions form 25% to 50%.
- Growing trend of women participation on medical education and in higher specialist levels in faculties of medical sciences and health services.
- Elevation of the level of women organizations in the structure of government by allocating 31 senior director-general women affairs posts at provincial administration
The Council of Ministers has adopted a number of directives and taken many steps in relation to elevating the status of women. The decisions of the Council of Ministers for the purpose of promoting women's cultural activities and strengthening the foundation of family life in their third round of provincial visits are as follows:
- Supporting the implementation of programs for the consolidation of the foundation of family and teaching ways of clean and moral living in cooperation with the religious seminaries.
- Helping with the preparation and implementation of plans and programs for the promotion of culture of hijab and chastity by emphasizing on public culture, traditions, customs and local clothing (men and women), and supporting apparel industries that produce clothing that are consistent with Islamic norms.
- Supporting establishment of sports and recreational centers for women at provincial levels.
- Supporting the development and strengthening of family guidance and counseling units in provinces with a view to promote good morals in the family on the basis of Islamic teachings and values.
- Helping with the empowerment of women for occupations at home, launching workshops and indigenous handicraft markets in provinces.
- Helping to establish special guarantee funds for rural and tribal women homemakers with respect to religious and health issues.
- Assisting to promote cultural and social programs for women in provinces by launching, activating community-based organizations, networks and centers for dealing with women affairs.
- Supporting the development of technical and vocational centers for girls by concentrating on local handicraft and carpet weaving.
- Supporting the implementation of supportive programs that intend to elevate the status of exemplary, talented and virtuous girls by presenting them as good examples and introducing them via the local provincial media.
- Helping with the preparation and implementation of plans and programs for respecting the elderly in the family.
- Helping to rejuvenate and bring greater safety to girls' schools.
- Adoption of article 227 of the Fifth Development Plan concerning the preparation and drafting of National Document for Safety and security of women and Children in the society.
- Establishment of National Women and Family Headquarters chaired by President with the participation of the President.