UN Authority Figures

UN Women Executive Board: Iran

Artist Atena Farghadani, 29, is currently serving a long stretch behind bars as punishment for depicting government officials, who decided to restrict women's access to birth control, as animals. Photo: Atena Farghadani
Source: The Daily Mail, July 9, 2015

Mission of the UN Women:
"The main roles of UN Women are: To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms; To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society; To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress." (UN Women website)

Iran's Term of office: 2016-2018

Iran's Record on Women's rights:
"Commonly reported methods of torture and abuse in prisons included prolonged solitary confinement, threats of rape, forced virginity tests, sexual humiliation,... Rape...remained a problem...There were reports of government forces raping individuals in custody ...The law considers sex within marriage consensual by definition and, therefore, does not address spousal rape, including in cases of forced marriage. Cases of rape were difficult to document due to nonreporting. Most rape victims likely did not report the crime, because they feared retaliation or punishment for having been raped, including charges of indecency, immoral behavior, or adultery for being in the presence of an unrelated man while unaccompanied, the latter of which carries the death penalty. They also feared societal reprisal or ostracism. For a conviction the law requires four Muslim men or a combination of three men and two women to have witnessed a rape. A woman or man found making a false accusation of rape is subject to 80 lashes. The law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence... the law is biased against women. The law prohibits physical contact between unrelated men and women, and punishes it by flogging. There was no reliable data on the extent of sexual harassment, although it was reportedly widespread. Media reports indicated that unwanted physical contact and verbal harassment occurred, but there were no known government efforts to combat and address these acts... provisions in the Islamic civil and penal codes, particularly sections dealing with family and property law, discriminate against women. Discrimination restricted women's economic, social, political, academic, and cultural rights. Women may not transmit citizenship to their children or to a noncitizen spouse. The government does not recognize marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men, irrespective of their citizenship. The law states that a virgin woman or girl wishing to wed needs the consent of her father or grandfather or the court's permission, even if she is over the age of 18. The law permits a man to have as many as four wives and an unlimited number of "temporary wives" (sigheh), based on a Shia custom under which a woman may become the time-limited wife of a man after a religious ceremony and a civil contract outlining the union's conditions. The law does not grant temporary wives and any resulting children rights associated with traditional marriage, but the contract is enforceable, and recognized children can obtain documentation and have limited rights. A woman has the right to divorce only if her husband signs a contract granting that right, cannot provide for his family, has violated the terms of their original marriage contract, or is a drug addict, insane, or impotent. A husband is not required to cite a reason for divorcing his wife. ... Women sometimes received disproportionate punishment for crimes, such as adultery, including death sentences. Discriminatory laws against women continued to be introduced. The 2013 revised Islamic penal code retains provisions that value a woman's testimony in a court of law as half that of a man's, and a woman's life as half that of a man's. The blood money paid to the family of a woman who is killed is half the sum paid for a man in most cases... the law requires a woman to obtain her husband's consent before working outside the home. ... Women were restricted from enrolling in several courses of study and faced limited program opportunities, quotas on program admission, and gender-segregated classes ...the law requires a woman to obtain her husband's consent before working outside the home... Women may not serve in many high-level political positions or as judges, except as consultants or research judges without the power to impose sentences... The government enforced gender segregation in many public spaces, including for patients during medical care, and prohibited women from mixing openly with unmarried men or men not related to them. .. The law provides that a woman who appears in public without appropriate attire (hejab), such as a cloth scarf over the head and a long jacket, or a large full-length cloth called a "chador," may be sentenced to flogging and fined..." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2015, Iran)