Committee on the Rights of the Child: Iran

Session 071 (2016)

(29 January 2016, CRC/C/IRN/CO/3-4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 31, 47, 53, 54, 55 and 56)

“The Committee is also concerned ... that the same sex sexual behaviour of adolescents above the actual age of criminal responsibility is criminalized and punished with penalties ranging from flogging to death penalty.

“The Committee is concerned at the reports that content-based offenses such as ‘propaganda against the state’ or ‘insulting Islam’ are not clearly defined and interpreted and can incur prison terms, flogging, and even death sentences, thus limiting the right of children to freedom of expression....

“While welcoming the 2013 Islamic Penal Code abolishing corporal punishment and flogging of children under the age of 18 years for the crimes under the ta’zir category, the Committee remains  seriously concerned that this Code retains the punishment of children who reached the legal age of criminal responsibility (9 lunar years for girls and 15 years for boys) for crimes under the categories of Hudud and Qisas with sentences involving torture or cruel, degrading treatment or punishment,  which has been and continue to be applied to children.  While recognizing the decree of the Supreme Leader not to have children witnessing public executions, the Committee is concerned about the negative impact of still ongoing public executions witnessed by children on their mental health and well-being. Furthermore, it is concerned at the reports that LGBTI children are subjected to electroshocks, hormones and strong psychoactive medications for the purpose of ‘curing’ them.

“In light of its general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence and taking note of Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children, the Committee strongly urges the State party to immediately repeal all provisions which authorize or condone cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of children. It also recommends that the State party put an end to public executions that have irreversible negative effect on the mental health of witnessing children by implementing the above mentioned decree. Furthermore, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that LGBTI children are not subjected to cruel and degrading treatment such as electroshocks, hormones and strong psychoactive medications and that those responsible for these acts be held accountable.

“The Committee is seriously concerned that articles 1173 and 1179 of the Civil Code allow for ‘reasonable punishment of children for correction or protection purposes’ and that article 158 (d) of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013 provide for disciplining children by parents or guardians ‘within normal and shariah-sanctioned boundaries’. Furthermore, it is concerned that corporal punishment is not prohibited in schools. 

“In the light of its General Comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State party to review its legislation with a view to prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment irrespective of its purpose, including by parents, guardians and teachers, and instead promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.”

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Session 038 (2005)

(31 March 2005, CRC/C/15/Add.254, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 45, 46, 47, 48, 72 and 73)

"The Committee deeply regrets that under the existing laws, persons below the age of 18 who have committed a crime can be subjected to corporal punishment and sentenced to various types of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, such as amputation, flogging or stoning, which are systematically imposed by judicial authorities and which the Committee considers to be totally incompatible with article 37 (a) and other provisions of the Convention.

"In the light of the consideration of the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts, the Committee urges the State party to take all the necessary measures to ensure that persons who committed crimes while under 18 are not subjected to any form of corporal punishment and to immediately suspend the imposition and the execution of sentences of amputation, flogging, stoning and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

"The Committee continues to be concerned about legislation that provides for corporal punishment within the family. While welcoming the new Law on the Protection of Children and Adolescents (2003), which includes the prohibition of all forms of molestation and abuse of children and the obligation to report cases of child abuse, the exceptions stated therein continue to legally allow various forms of violence against children. More particularly, several articles of the Civil and Penal Code [sic], have been excluded, including article 1179 of the Civil Law and article 59 of the Penal Code which gives parents the right to physically discipline their children within non-defined “normal limits”. In the Committee’s view, such exceptions contribute to the abuse of children inside and outside the family and contravene the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular article 19. The Committee also notes with concern, that certain forms of sexual abuse of children or grandchildren are not explicitly prohibited.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) continue and strengthen its efforts, including through legislative and other measures, to prohibit and prevent all forms of physical and mental violence against children, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse, in the family, in schools, and in other institutions, and take the necessary legislative measures to ensure that all those who sexually abuse children are punished without discrimination;

b) initiate public education campaigns against the use of all forms of violence against children and encourage alternative forms of discipline….

"The Committee welcomes the efforts of the State party to improve the laws with regard to persons below 18 in conflict with the law…. However, it deplores the information referred to in paragraph 29 above that, despite the statement of the delegation during the consideration of the current report that, in view of the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts, executions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18 have been suspended, such executions and ill-treatment have continued since the consideration by the Committee of the State party’s initial report. The Committee remains concerned at the existing poor quality of the rules and practices in the juvenile justice system, reflected, inter alia, in the lack of statistical data, the limited use of specialized juvenile courts and judges, the low age of criminal responsibility, the lack of adequate alternatives to custodial sentences, and the imposition of torture and other cruel and inhuman punishment and in particular of the death penalty.

"The Committee repeats its recommendation contained in paragraph 9 above that the State party take, as a matter of the highest priority, the necessary measures for the approval and implementation of the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts and ensure that it complies with the provisions of the Convention, in particular articles 37, 39 and 40, as well as with other relevant international standards in this area…. In this respect the Committee urges the State party, in particular: ...

b) to suspend immediately the imposition and execution of all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, such as amputation, flogging or stoning, for crimes committed by persons under 18…."

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Session 024 (2000)

(28 June 2000, CRC/C/15/Add.123, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 37, 38, 39 and 40)

"In light of article 37 (a) of the Convention, the Committee is seriously concerned that persons who committed crimes while under 18 can be subjected to corporal punishment under Note 2 of article 49 of the Islamic Penal Law, or can be subjected to a variety of types of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment such as amputation, flogging and stoning, which are systematically imposed by judicial authorities. Concurring with the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/79/Add.25), the Committee finds that application of such measures is incompatible with the Convention.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary steps to end the imposition of corporal punishment under Note 2 of article 49 of the Islamic Penal Law and the imposition of amputation, flogging, stoning and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment to persons who may have committed crimes while under 18.

"In light of articles 19 and 39 of the Convention, the Committee is concerned that legislation provides for corporal punishment within the family, under Note 2 of article 49 and article 59 of the Islamic Penal Law and article 1179 of the Civil Code.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence against children, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse, in the family and in the schools. The Committee recommends that these measures be accompanied by public education campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children. The Committee recommends that the State party promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment, especially in the home and the schools…."

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