This article is part of “Children Suicide in Iran,” a series that sheds light on a tragic aspect of rampant poverty and misery that many Iranian families struggle with.

Last week, another child laborer committed suicide and lost his life in Iran. According to rights activists, 11-year-old Moslem Shahkaram Zahi hanged himself and ended his life in Ziarat village, a suburb of Saravan district in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan on February 2.

He lived in a large family, which suffers from poverty and makes ends meet through ranching. “Moslem had taken their sheep to the pastures and mountains around the village. But he lost a number of sheep,” said a source familiar with the issue.

“After his return, he informed his mother about losing some sheep. But fearing a corporal punishment by his father, he hanged himself in their warehouse,” the source added.

During recent months, suicide cases have dramatically increased among Iranian people, particularly children and women. Most are due to rampant poverty and families’ economic dilemmas. In this respect, government-linked social experts admit that “suicide has become the third parameter for death among five- to 24-year-old teenagers and youths.

For instance, a day before Moslem’s suicide, 14-year-old Mohammad hanged himself in the city of Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. Locals said that “poverty and disappointment led impoverished Mohammad to end his short and painful life.”

Poverty Claims Another Child Laborer’s Life in Iran

In its February 3 edition, Jahan-e Sanat daily pointed out the growing number of child suicides in Iran. “The number of volunteer deaths has increased while the footprint of poverty is seen in all of them, which is derived from the coronavirus outbreak,” wrote the daily.

“Currently, children have entered the field [of volunteer death] with their special spiritual and mental features… This means that the poverty and economic impasses have convinced the people and even children that death is easier than remaining alive in such quagmire of poverty and misery,” Jahan-e Sanat added.

This heartbreaking phenomenon has swept across the country. Since the beginning of 2021, not a week has passed without news about child suicides in different provinces.

While the government does not care about citizens’ hardship, and the price of the food basket soars every week, and while authorities respond to citizens’ economic grievances with violence, it does not take a rocket scientist to grasp that death is much easier than remaining alive, according to Iranian human rights experts.

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“In such circumstances, we witness suicides in the province [of North Khorasan] at young ages,” said Chair of Provincial Rehabilitation Organization Esmail Ghorbani. “Against social harms, younger people’s threshold of toleration is lower.”

Ali Akbar Shara-Navard, deputy of North Khorasan’s Rehabilitation Organization for Social Affairs, acknowledged that attempted suicide was ranked as the second social harm in the past year, and the average age of victims has decreased.