Source: Center for Human Rights in Iran
Attorney: Social Welfare Organizations Lack Sufficient Resources
cartoon by Mohammad Reza Saghafi, Shahrvand daily
Despite ongoing reports of disturbing cases of child abuse, Iran's Parliament has failed to ratify a bill on the protection of children that was introduced nearly six years ago.
An Iran-based attorney specializing in child abuses cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that social welfare organizations lack the resources to effectively protect children.
"I have read the bill," said attorney Nemat Ahmadi on October 20, 2017. "It has a clear objective but lacks details. It would be good to write more complete laws, but that isn't enough. The question is: Does society have the resources to meet the legal requirements?"
Ahmadi, who has worked on many child abuse and discrimination cases, added that existing laws on the protection of children remain unimplemented Iran.
"Our current laws are not bad," she said. "We can start implementing them until the bill in Parliament is ratified."
The Bill for the Protection of Children and Juveniles was first submitted to the government by the judiciary in May 2009. After some revisions, the bill was introduced to Parliament in November 2011.
The bill aims to protect children from various forms of abuse, including physical harm, trafficking, and slavery.
On September 27, 2017, the spokesman for the Judicial and Legal Affairs Committee, Hassan Norouzi, said the bill was near completion and predicted it would be forwarded to the full session of parliament in two weeks, but no further progress was made.
Other than minor revisions made by parliamentary committees, the bill remains in a stunted stage.
In the Iranian year ending on March 20, 2017, 190,000 cases of child abuse had been reported, according to figures announced by Hossein Asad-Beigi, the head of Iran's Social Emergency Organization, on July 28, 2017. He said that most of the abuse occurred while the children were under the supervision of drug-addicted parents.
Asad-Beigi added that more than 600 of those children were returned to their families during that period due to state social welfare organizations lacking the resources to protect them. Fifteen children later died as a result of the abuse.
Article 5 of the Law for the Protection of Children and Juveniles (2002) states that "child abuse is a public crime that does not require a private complainant." Article 4 prohibits "any form of harm, harassment, abuse or physical or mental torture of a child."
Iranian media outlets regularly report on child abuses cases. Recently, medical examiners determined that a two and a half-year-old boy was sexually assaulted before he was beaten to death on October 14, 2017, by his stepfather in the city of Rasht, northern Iran.
"This image has been stuck in my mind for the past two days," tweeted member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi on October 19, along with a photo of the murdered baby, named Ahoura. "...My God, what is my degree of complicity in this tragedy?"
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