IRAN: Silent Victims of a Continuous Crime

Iran's children suffering under the clerical regime

Children’s lives are mired in difficulty in Iran.  Each month, more than 100 children die as a result of famine, street fights, and illness. National authorities are searching for ways to check the flow of child trafficking and child labor.

However, it is sometimes the authorities themselves who violate the most fundamental of children’s rights.  Iran is one of the last countries in the world that allows the death penalty for those under the age of 18.

Although Iran is rich in natural resources, these resources are often stolen or rerouted through drug trafficking or terrorist networks.  In this manner, much of the population cannot profit from the country’s natural wealth. Thus, much of the population lives in poverty. According to official reports, 80% of the Iranian population lives below the poverty line.  Children in rural areas are the most affected by this problem.

All of Iran’s ministries are looting people’s pockets. For example, Iran’s judicial system is looting the people with million-rial bails for all sorts of charges, so it has all but become a million-dollar financial cartel.

The education ministry is doing the same thing with the privatization of the schools, even though based on the articles of Iran’s constitution education must be free.

The effect of this is street children, child labor, children who are collecting garbage, and child trafficking.

There are currently more than an estimated 200,000 children living on the streets. They sleep in abandoned buildings, shipping containers, or vehicles and must find work in order to fulfill their own needs or those of their families.

An estimated 14% of Iranian children are forced to work in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. These children usually work on the streets, in automobile or rug factories, or are the victims of the sex industry in Iran.

Their normal life, health care, and education fall by the wayside, without any chance.

And every year the government talks about the unsolvable problems of Iran’s educational system from the deprivation of millions of children from school, lack of schoolbooks, stationaries, non-standard and demolished schools and increase of poverty of their families. These make an endless train of problems for the children.

But strange is that every year Iran’s state-affiliated media is repeating the same nonsense. One of them was published with the title “Deprivation of 3 million children from class and school”. It said:

"Article 8 of the [Iranian] constitution on the Rights of the Child emphasizes the right to education of children, its compulsion and its free access to all children, the availability of education, its professionalism, the granting of financial aid in the context of free education and the reduction of drop-out children."

"Article 30 of the constitution states that the right to education is the responsibility of the state and that the state is obliged to provide free education until the end of secondary education and to extend higher education free of charge to the self-sufficiency of the country."

According to the Minister of Education, thousands of elementary students are not going to school. Poverty is the biggest obstacle to returning students to school. Many families need the income they bring home through their children. For this reason, they choose the latter between continuing their education or entering the labor market. In suburban areas, families prefer their children in small workshops or on the streets as much as possible to provide for the basic needs of the family. Certainly, as the poverty line increases and more populations fall below the poverty line, the number of children leaving school is increasing. The infrastructure of life and education has been destroyed. (State-run Arman newspaper, 24 October 2019)

Another reason is the privatization of the educational system. The problems caused because of this system are repeated continuously in Iran’s media. As an example: Discrimination among poor and rich students in public and non-public schools. Any student whose family can afford to pay for non-public schooling by living in more difficult living conditions will go to private schools and the underprivileged will be wasted in public schools that remain inadequate. Closing down of public schools and directing concerned families to non-public schools. (State-run Resalat newspaper, 24 October 2019)