Saturday, 5 November 2011

CFR: Human Rights in Iran

Women's rights: The Iranian constitution allows equal rights for men and women "in conformity with Islamic criteria." According to the World Economic Forum's 2010 Gender Gap report (PDF)--which compared disparity between men and women on economic participation, access to education, health, and political empowerment--Iran ranked 123 out of 134 countries. This was better than most countries in the region, ahead of Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and even Turkey.  However, the UN report notes that the application of certain laws is a barrier to gender equality in Iran.  For instance, a woman's worth and testimony in a court of law is regarded as half that of a man's. Women do not have equitable inheritance rights, nor can they be granted guardianship rights for their children, even upon the death of their husbands. The report says female activists who try to address gender equality issues are often targeted.

Religious, ethnic, and other minorities: There are widespread abuses against members of recognized and unrecognized religious and ethnic minorities such as Arabs, Azeris, Baloch, Kurds, Namatullahi Sufi Muslims, Sunnis, Baha'is, and Christians. Iran's largest non-Muslim religious minority, the Baha'i, has historically been discriminated against and continues to be denied jobs and educational opportunities, and face arbitrary detention and unfair trials. Human Rights Watch says Iran also engages in systematic discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. "Iran is one of only seven countries with laws allowing executions for consensual same-sex conduct," it says.

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