UN review tells Iran to end the death penalty for gay sex

Iran has immediately refused to improve LGBT+ rights after the United Nations told it to end the death penalty for gay sex.

Instead, the country says it gives ‘equal rights’ to all individuals. However, it is one of the worst places in the world to be LGBT+.

Moreover, Iran also claims to treat trans people with a ‘special support-oriented approach’. That’s despite the fact that a leading Iranian LGBT+ rights group says it has stopped helping people transition.

Iran has given the answers in response to the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of the country. The UPR is the way the UN reviews the human rights of all 193 of its member countries. It sees other member states review each nation and give recommendations.

However, counter-intuitively, countries can choose to reject recommendations immediately. Furthermore, many countries initially accept the UPR’s proposals but then fail to act on them.

Iran has stopped funding gender confirmation surgery

In this case, Germany, Iceland, Canada, Uruguay, Italy, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico,  Malta, the Czech Republic and New Zealand, helped review Iran. And they particularly called on the Islamic state to improve LGBT+ rights.

But Iran has not accepted the recommendation it stop criminalizing same-sex relations. Moreover, it also refused to end the death penalty for gay sex.

The Czech Republic and New Zealand singled out trans rights. Strangely, Iran does allow trans people to transition – even though it doesn’t support any other LGBT+ rights.

Iran responded: ‘A special support-oriented approach has been adopted by the government which tries to offer counseling, financial and insurance services to them through relevant laws, competent authorities and social institutes.

‘According to the law, transgender people can apply for gender identity redetermination surgery through competent courts.’

However, Iranian LGBT+ organization 6Rang has done research that indicates Iran has gone backwards on trans rights in the last three years.

6Rang says the government has virtually ceased providing funds for gender reassignment surgeries. It justifies this by saying it does not have sufficient budget.

6Rang produced a detailed report on LGBT+ rights in Iran ahead of the UPR. It then presented this to more than 45 representatives from different countries.

In the report, 6Rang highlighted the death penalty for same-sex relations under the Islamic Penal Code. It also said LGBT+ people face arrest and pressure on their families.

Often LGB people are pressured to change gender, as Iran doesn’t accept different sexualities. They also face other dangerous and pointless ‘reparative therapies’.

Ignoring the ‘very existence of LGB persons’

Shadi Amin, executive director of 6Rang, says:

‘The Islamic Republic [of Iran] only mentions transsexual persons and turns a blind eye to the very existence of LGB persons.

‘The Iranian government’s reply shows that without serious pressure on our part as the LGBTI community and the targeted pressure of the international community, which currently do not exist, it will not be possible to change laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relations or to improve the situation of transgender people in Iran.’

The UPR saw 111 countries make a total of 329 recommendations to Iran.

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