Majlis hammering out details of long-awaited bill on rights of children

July 26, 2018 - 9:54

TEHRAN - Finally after months of debates on the bill on children’s right, Majlis [the Iranian parliament] is considering the bill in detail.

Majlis passed a law on children’s right in 2002, however, a lack of clarity in the law and ineffective legislative strategies prompted the parliamentarians to start to revise the law in 2006. Six years later in 2012 a new bill on children’s right was brought before the parliament, which is currently being discussed to be a law.

The current law on children’s right is ineffective in that in many cases of child abuse the punishment does not fit the crime. Releasing criminals on parole, giving remissions, and not granting responsible bodies the authority to fight violence against children are some of the shortcomings of the current law.

Moreover, there is a need for establishment of special courts or child-friendly courts for cases of child abuse. There is no exact and unambiguous definition of “abuse” in the law, which opens up possibility of interpreting the word in different ways, and hence it might benefit the criminals in many cases.

And now, at long last the parliament have approved some of the articles of the bill in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, IRNA reported.

As per an article agreed by parliamentarians, offices for the protection of children’s right, which will be affiliated to the judiciary,  will be established in order to identify cooperation areas with other institutions, prepare case reports and periodic reports, conduct statistical studies, and monitor and evaluate provincial offices actions toward enforcing the law.

Based on the article, the aforesaid offices will be set up in all provinces throughout the country, which operates under the supervision of the head office.

As per another article of the law, any parents, legal guardians or whoever has the custody of the child that neglect their child or their responsibilities towards them, which leads the child to be subjected to any criminal misdemeanor or injuries to their physical, mental, social, moral, safety or negatively affect their educational achievement, and in general could result in harm to children, are liable to imprisonment.

Such maltreatments will results in legal interference and protection of the child.

Situations that could result in harm to children are including addiction of parents or legal guardians to harmful psychotropic substances or drugs, being infected with transmissible viruses, being involved in the business of prostitution, recurrent aggression and domestic violence.

Moreover parents who refuse to register their child birth or denying to get identification documents for a child without any legal justification, may also face imprisonment.

Other forms of child neglect such as truancy or not letting children to attend school is also punishable by the law. The law also will be applied to children who are stigmatized due to their physical or mental disabilities or gender identity disorder by their parents or guardians.

MPs also considered involvement of children in illegal activities such as smuggling, as well as addiction to drugs, psychotropic substances or alcoholic beverages, as examples situation which do harm to children.

As per the bill proposed, any harmful situation caused by extreme poverty, displacement, asylum seeking, immigration or statelessness; as well as abuse or sexual exploitation will be considered as dangerous and leads to a punishment fitting the crime which has become harsher under the new law.

Moreover the parliamentarians tasked responsible bodies including Iran’s Welfare Organization, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Education Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and Police to take necessary actions in child maltreatment cases where necessary.

According to the World Health Organization, child maltreatment has enormous immediate and long-term repercussions. In addition to death, physical injury and disability, violence can lead to stress that impairs brain development and damages the nervous and immune systems which is associated with delayed cognitive development, poor school performance and dropout, mental health problems, suicide attempts, increased health-risk behaviors, victimization and the perpetration of violence.

A quarter of all adults reported having been physically abused as children worldwide. One in 5 women and 1 in 13 men report having been sexually abused as a child.


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