Based on an announcement from the Iranian government’s media, the Tehran municipality ordered the evacuation of Nasser Khosrow Children’s House by the end of July. This facility was established twenty years ago in Tehran’s 12th district and served as an education center for underprivileged children, including those engaged in forced labor.
Over the past two decades, Nasser Khosrow Children’s House had provided various services, such as education and medical care, to many working children.
Recent reports in the media indicate that Tehran Municipality has issued a decree demanding the evacuation of this center. The given reason is that the property will be handed over to another individual to settle a debt. This information was shared by Tahereh Pajuhesh, a social activist and CEO of the Children’s Protection Association.
Despite complaints filed by concerned activists against the closure and transfer of Nasser Khosrow Children’s Home, Tehran Municipality has not presented any official documents regarding the proposed handover or ownership exchange to settle the debt.
This decision to evacuate the center is the latest in a series of actions taken by Tehran Municipality in recent times, which is hurting the community or a specific stratum of society. In previous weeks, the municipality has also sealed other centers such as the Navid Mehr Children and Family Support Center in Tehran’s 17th and 18th districts, as well as the House of Humanities Thinkers in the 13th district, putting pressure on non-governmental organizations.
It’s worth noting that the House of Humanities Thinkers was sealed under the direct order of Alireza Zakani, the current Mayor of Tehran, despite some opposition within the Tehran City Council.
Now it seems that the insatiable greed of Tehran Municipality has targeted Nasser Khosrow Children’s Home, putting the shelter for homeless children at risk of destruction due to the cruelty of the regime.
In response to the immediate evacuation order, the Children’s Protection Association has issued a statement, asserting that Tehran Municipality should allocate another place to set up a new center to support and care for the children from Nasser Khosrow Children’s Home. They will exercise their right to reject the municipality’s order and explore other legal options.
It is important to note that Nasser Khosrow Children’s House, which operates in the fields of education, employment, and health for working children, relies entirely on public donations and voluntary efforts.
Atena Daemi, a former political prisoner and children’s rights activist, shed light on the pressures exerted by Tehran Municipality on this center and similar organizations working in the field of children’s rights. Many of these organizations have been compelled, under the pressure of the municipality, to cooperate with the authorities to ensure their activities can continue without interruption.
Daemi further explained that independent non-governmental organizations are either restricted or their leaders are arrested, while Tehran Municipality profits significantly in the name of these organizations without actually providing them with the necessary resources.
She also pointed out that the support provided by these non-governmental organizations to working children extends even after they grow up and are no longer involved in labor. Thus, the closure of places like Nasser Khosrow Children’s Home will significantly harm these individuals who have already been released from child labor.
Another children’s rights activist stated that Tehran Municipality, as a governing body, is a major contributor to the exploitation of child labor and will undoubtedly benefit from the closure of places like Nasser Khosrow Children’s House.
In this context, Ms. Daemi highlighted that many child labor brokers bribe the municipality to obtain work permits for children on the streets, and in this way, Tehran Municipality profits from the existence of child labor.