Law to Uphold Children’s Rights

Law to Uphold Children’s RightsLaw to Uphold Children’s Rights

T he law to uphold the rights of children proposed to the Majlis (parliament) by the Judiciary, is set to be ratified before the next parliamentary elections (in March 2016), said the spokesperson for the Parliamentary Judicial and Legal Committee, Mohammad Ali Esfanani.

“Iran’s Criminal Code of Procedure addresses children’s rights in a number of issues and refers to the establishment of a children’s court to help prevent child abuse. The decision rests with the ministry of justice,” he said, quoted by Mehr News Agency.

The new bill highlights and specifies responsibilities of parents and/or other legal guardians as well as that of relatives, government, and society vis-a-vis children.

There are four major categories of child abuse globally: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. In certain judicial systems across the world, children are deprived of simple self-defense, where kids believe child abuse to be normal behavior.

All four forms of child abuse are addressed and proscribed in the proposed bill.

Iran ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (also known as the CRC, CROC, or UNCRC) in 1993. It is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of 18, unless under the law of the land applicable to the child,  majority is attained earlier.

However, after the Guardian Council stated that certain articles contradicted the Islamic ethos of Iran, Article 9 was added to the treaty maintaining that “any stipulations within the convention that go against Islamic notions are to be assumed abolished.”

Nations that ratify the convention are bound to it by international law and compliance is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which comprises members from countries around the world.

 Clear Definition

Head of the University of Judicial Sciences and Administrative Services Dr. Mohamad Javad Shariatbagheri stressed that “a clear definition of the word ‘child’ and prohibiting execution of minors (under 18) are imperative in a law that supports children’s rights.”

The main issue to be addressed by the new law is child abuse. It is defined by the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. Another form of misconduct is maltreatment which is “any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.”

Child neglect is globally the most common form of child abuse. It is described as the failure of a parent or other responsible entities to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the extent where the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened. It could also refer to a lack of attention from the people surrounding a child, and deficient attention, love, and nurture.