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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights

SpecialRep reportHuman Rights Council
Forty-sixth session
22 February–19 March 2021
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman

Summary: The present report provides an overview of current human rights concerns in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the report, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran details observations regarding trends, concerns and progress made in the protection of human rights and puts forward recommendations to improve the human rights situation.


1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/24, in which the Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to submit a report at its forty-sixth session. It contains information collected up until 3 December 2020, including from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and non-governmental and media organizations, and through interviews with victims of alleged violations and their families and lawyers. The Special Rapporteur appreciates the Government’s engagement and the increased response to communications from special procedures. The Government’s dialogue with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is also encouraging. The Special Rapporteur regrets that requests to visit the country have not been accepted.

2. The Special Rapporteur details the current human rights situation in the country, with a focus on the situation of women and girls. While some steps have been taken towards gender equality, he expresses concern that gender-based discrimination persists in law, practice and societal attitudes. He outlines where the Government can reform and promote gender-equal policies, including by repealing discriminatory family, criminal and employment laws, protecting women from violence, promoting female leadership and full participation in cultural life, and ending the targeting of women’s rights advocates.


3. The Special Rapporteur is dismayed that sanctions imposed by the United States of America continue to have a negative impact on economic and social rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, with humanitarian exemptions proving unsuccessful. Notwithstanding the above, there are concerns that the Government’s pandemic response remains inadequate and opaque, especially relating to protecting detainees in overcrowded and unhygienic prisons. The Special Rapporteur remains deeply concerned at the high execution rate in the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressing particular alarm at the recent implementation of the death penalty against protesters. The Government has failed to conduct an independent and transparent investigation into the violent State response to the November 2019 protests or hold perpetrators accountable. While the release and pardons of some human rights defenders, lawyers, dual and foreign nationals and labour rights activists are welcomed, State targeting of individuals from these groups continues. Ongoing discrimination against ethnic, religious and sexual minorities remains a serious concern.

Complete report to read and download: