Language Switcher

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, A/HRC/28/70, 12 March 2015

[Excerpt from the advance unedited version.]

I. Introduction

1. The Islamic Republic of Iran participated in a second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in October 2014. A total of 104 delegations presented some 291 recommendations related to rights guaranteed by five international human rights conventions[1] ratified by Iran. The majority of these recommendations call on the Government to consider strengthening protections for civil and political rights and to cease practices that violate them. They also encourage the Government to accede to conventions that abolish the use of capital punishment, protect against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, protect the rights of migrant workers and advance gender equality. Recommendations also pertain to improvements in protections for vulnerable groups, including religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities; encourage the establishment of a Paris Principle-compliant National Human Rights Institute (NHRI); and enjoin cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms.

VI. Economic, social and cultural rights

B. Right to health

2. Transgender Iranians

60. During its last review of Iran in 2013, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed concern “that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community face discrimination with respect to access to employment, housing, education and health care, as well as social stigma and marginalization.”[74] 61. The Special Rapporteur notes favorably that Iranian law and practice allows for transgender persons to undergo gender confirmation surgery.[75] However, information received from victims, who underwent such surgeries, suggested that the quality of healthcare they received was at times, clearly substandard and not in line with professional norms or the right to adequate and attainable health provided in the ICCPR and ICESCR.[76] Interviewees claimed that gender confirmation surgeries often led to serious complications, including severe bleeding, severe infection, scarring, chronic pain, and rectovaginal fistulas. Transgender Iranians also reported that their operations resulted in abnormally shaped or located sexual organs and vaginal stenosis. 62. There are reports that, licensed doctors gave patients a “discounted” rate for surgeries that ultimately deviated from standard procedures. These budget operations were allegedly conducted outside operating rooms, with limited anesthesia and post-operation care, and sometimes without genital reconstruction. Several transgender interviewees said these “discounted” surgeries were attractive, because it was difficult to access the costly surgical care, due to insufficient subsidies, and a lengthy pre-surgery bureaucratic process. The Special Rapporteur takes note that transgender persons must undergo gender confirmation operations in order to attain legal recognition of their gender in Iran, which may create undue pressure to undergo surgery.[77]

VIII. Response from the Islamic Republic of Iran

84. The Government asserted its total rejection of “homosexual behaviors,” while highlighting its support for transgender individuals. In response to the sections on gender segregation policies the Government observed that “it is necessary to pay due attention to cultural and social grounds for this phenomenon. Observance of Islamic Hijab is mandatory according to our laws.”

IX. Conclusions and Recommendations

97. The Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to consider ending its satellite jamming given its impact on the health of its citizens, and on the right to access to information. He also calls for the enhancement of policies that govern gender confirmation surgeries for transgender individuals to ensure the protection of the right to health of those who may consider such procedures.

Annex I: Supplementary and additional information

VI. Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

C. Right to Health

ii. LGBT (supplemental (sic) to the “Transgender Iranians” section of the Report)

130. In its reply to the Draft Report, the Government noted its support for the transgender community, and suggested that it was formulating policies to provide for increased health and financial assistance to members of that community. The Government stated its total rejection of “homosexual behaviors.”

Link to full text of the report: Report-SRIran-AUV-2015-eng


Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. 1. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  2. 74. E/C.12/IRN/CO/2
  3. 75. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO), “Human Rights Violations of People in the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Basis of Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, 2014,
  4. 76. See: World Professional Association for Transgender Health, “The Standards of Care (SOC)for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People,” Seventh Version (2011),,%20V7.pdf
  5. 77. National Organization for Civil Registration, Article 20 (14);