First, it is essential to indicate that Iran is one of the few countries that has not jointed to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women. This law is still in its real impasse. The passage of such this bill in this circumstance raises questions.
With the noteworthy cases before the analysis and review of the bill is the review of one of the most remarkable cases of violation of the law in Iran, violation of children’s rights, the discrimination against children, the issue of legalising child marriage and the phenomenon of child marriage. Within the framework of the patriarchal and religious law of the Iranian regime, has been stamped and approved as an executive law.
In the year of 2000, the marriage law was approved by the Expediency Discernment Council. According to it, the marriage of girls at the age of 13 and boys at the age of 15 are allowed with the permission of the guardian and the court digestion.
Furthermore, in Article 1041 of the civil law, the marriage of girls before becoming the age of 13 and boys before becoming the age of 15 is depended to the permission of the guardian, if the condition of the Expediency would be conformed by a competent court of diagnosis.
Nowadays, according to such cases of fundamental human rights violations and providing a platform of violence in society by approving such anti-feminist and anti-human laws, and on the other hand, scheduling bills to protect women to circumvent the approved or colourful law to maximise the shortcomings of the show-support laws to deviate public opinion or forcing the situation to change?
On the other hand, the bill had distanced international standards, and although it broadly defines forms of violence against women as a crime, it refrains from criminalising some forms of gender-based violence, such as child marriage and spousal rape, therefore the violence still remains open.
Also, the bill does not amend the restrictive and the problematic definition of criminal law of rape, which clearly excludes spousal rape crime. Simultaneously, the mandatory punishment for rape is the death penalty, which excludes women from reporting rape.
In addition, the bill does not define domestic violence and violates some of the determined offences in the bill, such as “proposal” immoral intercourse “and encouraging women to engage in immoral acts” and the right to privacy and other protected freedoms. While there is no clear legal definition of “actions against chastity” under the Iranian law; Judgments have interpreted it to include consensual sexual intercourse as a crime. “In cases where the father or spouse is accused, the authorities must refer the case to a for a month, and if no solution is found, then return the case to the judiciary.”
The UN legislative booklet in the section on violence against Women states that violence against women must be prohibited in all subjects and at all stages of the proceedings of the mediator judiciary, therefore they exclude the judicial proceedings from the dossier. Accordingly, that the mediation can create greater barriers to obtaining prompt protection for victims of domestic violence through a protection order, the law allows for such verdicts. However, only in cases where the victim occasions a criminal complaint and there is a serious threat and subsequent injury.
The UN Department of Women recommends that survivors of domestic violence are able to seek protection without legal action, such as a criminal complaint or divorce. This bill does not change discriminatory laws and depresses women more vulnerable to domestic violence.
The Iranian civil law permits men to control their wife’s movements, including the right to choose a place of residence and to prohibit occupations that what they consider to be in conflict with “family values.” Furthermore, hence the Iran considers extramarital sex to be a punishable offence, women would faced with the risk of being prosecuted if they report rape.
The bill criminalises violence against women, including forcing marriage, public sexual, physical and psychological harassment, but does not criminalise other forms of violence, such as rape and virginity testing. While the restriction of women in all fields, including art, politics and society has increased. Whereas the offender of the spouse be father or victim’s mother the bill provides alternative sentences. Conversely, it supports the violence against women by easing sentences.
For example, despite attempts by Romina Ashrafi’s mother to convict and retaliate against Romina’s father, on August 28, the primitive court sentenced Reza Ashrafi, Romina’s father to nine years in prison due of murdering his daughter. According to the Iranian law for an intentional murder can order the sentence to the death unless the family of the victim forgives the killer. Conversely, the law includes that if a father or paternal grandfather kills his child or grandson, the sentence will eventually order to ten years in prison.
In 2014, the Deputy Chief of Police for Criminals Combat alleged that about 19 percent of homicides in Iran were “honour-motivated” and that 63 percent of killed women by a family member of them. The discriminatory civil laws allow men to have more control over women’s lives. They ease domestic violence and define the man as the head of the household, giving him the responsibility of financially supporting his wife and choosing the place where the family should live. A woman can lose her financial support if she disobeys with no valid reason.
A man can also prevent his wife engaging in a profession that she would be contrary to family values or to the detriment of either person according to his opinion. Despite this, if a woman leaves her husband because she is in a place that concerns him about physical or financial harm or his dignity, the law grants him financial protection.
According to the article 18 of the passport law, married women must obtain permission from their husbands to obtain a passport. In the past few decades, to compensate for the effects of these discriminatory remarks, couples have signed difference documents. In many of these occasions, equal rights, men consent granting women, specifically for women seeking equal rights to divorce, if the women waive their legal dowry. People occasionally indicate that notaries refuse to include such comments in the marriage certificate.
On the day 8th of May, the Office of the Deputy President for Women and the Family announced that the judiciary had issued a new directive requiring marriage registries to include additional notes in marriage documents of the follower couple’s request. The law also allows discrimination against women over the right of divorcing, and according to the article 1133 of the Iranian civil law, so a man can divorce his wife such unilaterally whenever he wishes. Conversely, the wife must visit court only for limited reasons to divorce and prove that her husband has stopped her financial support or would be forced through “difficult and unpleasant circumstances” (Article 1130).
However, judges have the power to decide what constitutes an unbearable hardship, and in many cases, women have a difficult path proving their harassment. Women can also demand accordance divorce in court, even, when the Iranian government established “family courts” in the 2013 Family Laws.
The law strengthened only the discriminatory notes of the civil law and instructed the courts to refer a consensual divorce petition to dispute resolution councils. Certainly, there are other provisions in the law, such as an order for a female judge to appear in court and the ability of granting or delaying the payment of court fees if a person could not afford it. This provision specifically applies to victims of sexual violence who may be financially dependent on their abusers. According to the type of divorce, a consensual divorce dossier can be processed within two months, but if a woman demands a divorce, it usually takes more than a year.
Currently the fundamental question appears whether the Iranian regime is frightened of the resurrection of women to change the laws and change the regime. If we look at the real essence of the patriarchal Iranian regime, we observe that the fundamental foundations of this system are based on the devastation of women.
The forty-year policy of this regime is based on the control of women in all social, family, economic, political and cultural dimensions and to deactivate the function of women in all affairs. The humiliation, repression and suffocation of women are an indivisible part of the petrified and oppressive laws of the Iranian political Islam, which there is not any possibility of significant reforming by any bill or law substantially.
Therefore, in the principle of the Iranian regime’s constitution, which is derived from the tradition of religion and sharia itself, is a mechanism for the destruction of women. Consequently, in Islam, women’s rights and freedoms have no connotation and women are defined only in the monopoly of men’s desires.
Self-immolation and suicide of women is one of the most important facts for the insignificance of the laws and bills approved by the Iranian regime concerning the protection of women. The pressures, which exert by these laws and systematic restrictions on women’s freedom, have constricted the field for Iranian women to such an extent that they are insecure not only in front of the law, but also in society and even in the family. Women’s suicide indicates a lack of support for women’s actual rights and dignity.
The petrified, decisive and patriarchal Islamic laws, all of which are part of the regime’s systematic massacre machine, have never released the path for women’s liberation and the achievement of their factual rights and equality. These laws themselves have caused to the genocide of women in all its dimensions. In this circumstance, the approval of such scenario and simulation bills is in fact to deceive the domestic and foreign public opinion. Otherwise, the home is destroyed from its basis and this regime created such tragedies.
The systematic crimes of the regime, whether in society, family, prisons or dim torture cells, by representing such deceptive bills and solutions, cannot obliterate the face of the issue that the regime itself is the source of it.
This report was written by Afsaneh Ruhandeh, co-chair of the Kurdistan Human Rights Association, and published on the Rojhelat.info website.
Kurdistan Human Rights Association