Iran street children rights, human rights

  Iran street children rights, human rights
Oct 30, 2007
Morteza Aminmansour

Street children are homelesss childrenn who live on the street � in particular, those that are not taken care of by parentss or other adultss. Street children live in abandoned buildings, containers, automobiles, parkss, or on the street itself. Tehran the largest city of IRAN has one of the highest rates of drug usage in the country. In addition to its social and economic consequences, drug use is emerging as a major contributor to HIV infection and AIDS in recent years. Relatively high oil prices in the last few years have enabled Iran to more than $30 billion in foreign exchange reserves, but have not eased economic hardships such as high unemployment and inflation. The proportion of the economy devoted to financing pro Iranian Group outside the country apparently Lebanese Hizbolah or others due to the Wrong policies of the government in IRAN. This Money could be used for funding kinder garden, schools or other facilities for training purposes of IRANIAN children.


There are reportedly significant numbers of children, particularly Afghan but also Iranian, working as street vendors in Tehran and other cities and not attending school because their parents are not able to pay the expenses. Recently the government representatives told the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children that there were less than 60 thousand street children in the country. Tehran has reportedly opened several shelters for street children but more shelters needed to be provided to accommodate all street children, shortage of funds and lack of planning is the major obstacle to serve these children. The government’s report on the rights of the children claimed seven thousand street children had been resettled to date.

The high level of literacy in Iran is the sign of progress (between 1996-2000) and the measures that was taken by the State to increase school enrolment and lower dropout rates needs to be appreciated, but it remains concerned that not all children are enrolled in or graduate from primary school (high inflation in the recent years by almost 16%yearly, declining the income, unemployment, prevented the parents from sending their children to schools). Working children, children living on the streets and children without complete personal documents, particularly refugee children with bi-national parents, have reduced access to schools (recently Iranian parliament passed a law which prohibits undocumented children attending the schools or have to pay high tuition for them and it is concerned that many of these immigrants are living on day to day bases and do not have steady income to pay for their children to go to schools. It is also concerned that refugee children are currently only being enrolled in schools if their parents have registered with the authorities as mentioned, and that the enrolment of refugee children comes from the pocket of these parents. It is further concerned about well-documented information that a large number of Baha’i students were not admitted to school on the grounds of their religious affiliation.

The concerned about the large number of children living and/or working in the streets, particularly in urban centers such as Tehran, Isfahan, Mashad, and Shiraz. It regrets that the State party could not present studies on the extent and nature of the problem and is concerned that the centers known as "Khaneh Sabz", "Khaneh Shoush" and "Khaneh Reyhane" homes, which were established to assist these children, albeit in a limited capacity, have been closed down because of the lack of funding. It is equally concerned at reports of the round-up and arrest of Afghan children in the streets (government is concern about the safety of the children) despite the fact that they were registered with the authorities, and that as a "condition" for their release the authorities request that their parents register for repatriation.

It is reports that Tehran has 35,000 to 50,000 children forced by adults mostly parents or closed relative to live and beg on the street or to work as slave laborers in sweat shops. The death rate among street children is high, from 100 to 150 a month. The cause of their deaths varies from malnutrition to diseases brought on by unsanitary conditions and the government is helpless fighting these criminal activities. Also the adults who exploit the children often train them for criminal activities, including selling illegal drugs and alcohol or providing them to others for sexual activities.

Most of these street children who were rounded up from the streets of Tehran by the authorities, according to the head of Social Service in the Iranian capital�s town hall. The majority of these children had run away from their homes to escape social pressures (because the parents lost jobs, addicted to drugs or involved in illegal activities).

Lot of these children make it only to big cities (Mashad, Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz) to end up in situations as poor as those that they left their homes. Typically, this type of children are in the age of 10 to 18 years old with many siblings and a mother who earns a living by washing clothes, cleaning homes for very low paid jobs (because they do not have any skills) sending heir children out to sell small goods or other products. Often abused within the family crises by family members or outside by strangers, increasing numbers of these children look elsewhere for support without any chances. With no papers or any other kind of documents and little money, they are easily transformed into street children and criminal activities.

It is recommended that The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran establish an independent entity accountable to parliament, such as an ombudsman, to monitor the observance of children’s rights. It will play a very important role in promoting a culture of respect for human rights in Iranian society and will achieve considerable progress in improving awareness of human rights issues among the general public Services should be also provided for children with special needs, aimed at integrating them into their families and society and developing their abilities to the fullest extent possible. Programs for vulnerable children should be aimed in particular at raising awareness of the problems of child abuse, drug abuse and exploitation, at returning street children to their families and at providing expert opinions concerning the best interests of the child to judges hearing divorce cases.

The prostitution of children also has surfaced as a matter of concern. In 2000, Iranian authorities closed down six brothels in Tehran and arrested 35 people, including some minors. Every day, an average of 45 Iranian girls (Mostly under 18) run away from home to escape poverty, abuse, and social imprisonment. Though some are picked up by the police and brought to welfare organizations, many falls into the hands of organized prostitution rings or drift into crime and the sex trade (they were transported to other countries such as UAE for rich Arabs or to Afghanistan and Pakistan to work as prostitutes; some simply disappear. Police in Tehran reportedly round up 90 runaway children every day in average, and as of September 2001, more than 900 girls and 700 boys (the age between 10-18) were reported to have fled their homes in Tehran. Often times, the young runaways are raped or even killed by criminal Gangs in Tehran. According to some recent reports, one young woman in Tehran is raped and murdered every 6 days, as criminals increasingly take advantage of runaways children.

More shelters needed to help these children to provide a place where the child can sleep
and be fed. But it is not always easy to persuade the children to give up their previous existence. Street life is basic, harsh, and unpleasant. But the groups to which the children belong become substitute families and provide them with a basic level of comradeship and security. They do not adapt easily to the requirements of a more ordered and social environment. However the staff there are now loved and respected by the children.

We should come to the conclusion that:
Recognizing that all children have the right to health, shelter, and education, to an adequate standard of living and to freedom from violence and harassment, the growing number of street children worldwide and the squalid conditions in which these children are often forced to live, as we know:

That children are a particularly vulnerable section of society whose rights require special protection and that children living under especially difficult circumstances, such as street children, deserve special attention, protection and assistance from their families and communities and as part of national efforts and international cooperation among the civilized nations.

Sources:
Iran’s daily "Dowran Emrooz"
The General Assembly of UN
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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