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|State||IRAN ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF||Huridocs Code||7327|
|Date of adoption||28-02-2005|
|Summary record||CRC/C/SR.1015, CRC/C/SR.1016|
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the second periodic report of the State party, as well as the written replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/RESP/71), which provided a better understanding of the progress achieved in the implementation of the Convention since the initial report. The Committee appreciates the presence of a high-level delegation, which provided additional information in the course of the dialogue.
3. The Committee welcomes:
(a) Article 30 of the Constitution which provides for free education for all citizens up to secondary school, and the fact that over 90 per cent of children aged 6-10 years have access to primary education;
(b) The adoption in 2003 of the Law on the Protection of Children and Adolescents, and the related establishment of the Office on the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in the Judiciary;
(c) The ratification in 2002 by the State party of ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour;
(d) The signing of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, on 31 December 2000.
Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Convention
Principal subjects of concern
Principal areas of concern and recommendations
1. General measures of implementation
The Committee's previous concluding observations
4. While acknowledging that the period between the consideration of the initial report and the submission of the second periodic report was rather short, the Committee regrets that the State party did not provide information on its follow-up actions regarding most of the Committee's previous concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.123) following consideration of the State party's initial report (CRC/C/41/Add.5), such as in relation to the reservations (para. 7), the definition of the child (para. 20), freedom from discrimination on grounds of sex (para. 24), the right to life (paras. 28 and 30) and juvenile justice (para. 54). The Committee notes that many of the same concerns and recommendations are reiterated in the present concluding observations.
5. The Committee urges the State party to make every effort to give adequate follow-up to its previous concluding observations and to take measures to implement those contained in the present document.
6. The Committee deeply regrets that no review has been undertaken of the broad and imprecise nature of the State party's reservation since the submission of the initial report. It reiterates its concern that the nature of the general reservation potentially negates many provisions of the Convention and raises concern as to its compatibility with the object and purpose of the Convention.
7. In the light of article 51, paragraph 2, of the Convention, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the State party review the general nature of its reservation with a view to withdrawing it, or narrowing it, in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights of 1993.
8. The Committee notes the various legislative measures undertaken by the State party and referred to in its response to the list of issues (CRC/C/RESP/71) and welcomes, in particular, the information provided by the delegation that the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts has been approved by the Council of Ministers and has been submitted to the Majlis, a bill which, inter alia, abolishes the death penalty for crimes committed by persons under 18. The Committee also notes that this Bill has yet to be approved by the Council of Guardians before it becomes law.
9. The Committee recommends that the State party take, as a matter of the highest priority, all possible measures to secure the final official approval of this new law and to ensure its full implementation. It further recommends that the State party continue to strengthen its legislative efforts by undertaking a comprehensive review of its domestic legislation so as to ensure its full conformity with the principles and provisions of the Convention.
10. The Committee is concerned that no progress has been made in administrative coordination at the national and local levels of government. It is also concerned that implementation of the Convention at the local and regional levels is insufficient, owing to the lack of a coordinating mechanism.
11. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen coordination among the various governmental bodies and mechanisms involved in children's rights, at both the national and local levels, with a view to developing a comprehensive policy on children and ensuring effective evaluation of the implementation of the Convention.
12. While noting the State party's efforts to improve monitoring, especially through the establishment of the National Committee, for the purposes of reviewing the implementation of the Committee's concluding observations on the State party's initial report, the functioning of the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the collaboration between the State party and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to establish a monitoring mechanism, the Committee remains concerned that a permanent and independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Convention has not yet been established.
13. The Committee recommends that the State party, in accordance with the Committee's general comment No. 2 (2002) on the role of independent national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, establish a statutory, independent institution, adequately staffed and resourced, with the mandate to determine priorities and regularly to monitor and evaluate progress in the implementation of the Convention. The Committee also recommends that the State party continue to seek assistance from, among others, UNICEF and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Allocation of budgetary resources
14. Despite some information in this regard, the Committee is concerned that the information provided by the State party on the allocation of budgetary resources is limited, and that insufficient attention has been paid to article 4 of the Convention regarding the implementation to the "maximum extent of ... available resources" of the economic, social and cultural rights of children.
15. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Develop a budgeting system that would allow expenditure linked to children's issues as a percentage of the national budget to be clearly identified, in order to have a clear picture of the actual allocation of resources and a systematic assessment of the impact of those allocations on the implementation of children's rights;
(b) Allocate an appropriate budget for social services for children belonging to the most vulnerable groups.
16. The Committee is concerned at the lack of an adequate data-collection mechanism in the State party allowing for the systematic and comprehensive collection of disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data for all areas covered by the Convention in relation to all groups of children in order to monitor and evaluate progress achieved and assess the impact of policies adopted with respect to children.
17. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Establish a system whereby disaggregated data are collected on all persons under 18 years of age for all areas covered by the Convention (e.g. victims of abuse, children living in remote areas, children with disabilities, children of poor households, adolescent health), and use such data to assess progress and design policies and programmes to implement the Convention;
(b) Continue to seek technical assistance from relevant United Nations agencies, in particular from UNICEF.
Cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
18. While noting with appreciation the State party's efforts to strengthen cooperation with NGOs by involving them in the National Committee in charge of drafting the State party's report, the Committee remains concerned that such cooperation is selective and limited.
19. The Committee urges the State party to continue to strengthen its cooperation with all NGOs, particularly those dealing with children, at all stages of the implementation of the Convention.
Dissemination and training
20. While welcoming the initiatives undertaken to date to disseminate information on children's rights, including the joint programmes between the State party and UNICEF, the Committee is concerned that insufficient measures have been taken to disseminate and raise awareness of international human rights standards, including the Convention, in a systematic and targeted manner.
21. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen and implement systematically measures to disseminate the Convention among all relevant professionals, providing them with systematic and regular training in its provisions, and take specific measures to make the Convention available to and known by all children.
2. Definition of the child
22. The Committee reiterates its deep concern that the age of majority is set at pre-defined ages of puberty for boys at 15 and for girls at 9, because it implies that boys from 15 to 18 years and girls from 9 to 18 years are not covered by the provisions and principles of the Convention. The Committee notes the increase in the age of marriage for girls from 9 to 13 years (while that of boys remains at 15) and is seriously concerned at the very low minimum ages and the related
practice of forced, early and temporary marriages.
23. The Committee urges the State party to review its legislation so that the age of majority is set at 18 years of age and that minimum age requirements conform with all the principles and provisions of the Convention and with internationally accepted standards, and in particular that they are gender neutral, in the best interests of the child, and ensure that they are enforced. It should also take the necessary steps to prevent and combat forced, early and temporary marriages.
3. General principles
The right to non-discrimination
24. The Committee is deeply concerned at the persisting discrimination against girls and women, in particular in their role as parents, reflected in various legal provisions and practices (e.g. The requirement that a child's father or paternal grandfather only may give his permission for the issuance of a passport for a child under 18 years. Consequently, in a case in which the parents are separated and the mother of the child resides in another country, the child may only leave Iran to visit his/her mother if the father permits the child to do so.). The Committee is equally concerned at discrimination on the grounds of religion and birth. As to the latter, it is concerned that insufficient information has been provided on children born out of wedlock, in particular, with respect to the discrimination against and stigmatization of these children, who are particularly vulnerable.
25. The Committee recommends that the State party promptly review all its legislation to ensure that it is non-discriminatory and gender neutral and that it is enforced. Moreover, the State party should take effective measures, including enacting or rescinding, as appropriate, civil and criminal legislation to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion and other grounds, in compliance with article 2 of the Convention.
26. The Committee requests that specific information be included in the next periodic report on the measures and programmes relevant to the Convention undertaken by the State party to follow-up on the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, taking account of the Committee's general comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education.
Best interests of the child
27. The Committee regrets that in all actions or decision-making relating to children the general principle of the best interests of the child, as provided for under article 3 of the Convention, continues not to be a primary consideration, including in matters relating to family law. In particular, the Committee regrets that article 1169 of the Civil Law relating to the custody of children after divorce prevents the court from taking the best interests of the child into account. In the Committee's view, custody determined solely on the basis of a child's age is both arbitrary and discriminatory against the mother.
28. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the State party review its legislation and administrative measures to ensure that article 3 is reflected therein and implemented in all actions concerning children.
Right to life
29. The Committee notes the statement made by the delegation of the State party during the consideration of the second periodic report that in view of the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts currently pending before Parliament, executions of persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18 have been suspended. The Committee deplores the fact that such executions have continued since the consideration of the State party's initial report, including one such execution on the day the second report was being considered.
30. The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary steps to immediately suspend the execution of all death penalties imposed on persons for having committed a crime before the age of 18, to take the appropriate legal measures to convert them into penalties in conformity with the provisions of the Convention and to abolish the death penalty as a sentence imposed on persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18, as required by article 37 of the Convention.
31. The Committee reiterates its serious concern at article 220 of the Penal Code, which provides that fathers who kill their child, or their son's child, are only required to pay one third of the blood money to the mother, and are subjected to a discretionary punishment, in the event that the mother makes a formal complaint.
32. The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures, including the amendment of the offending article of the Penal Code, to ensure that there is no discriminatory treatment for such crimes and that prompt and thorough investigations and prosecutions are carried out.
Respect for the views of the child
33. The Committee regrets that little progress has been made concerning respect for the views of the child in judicial decisions, including concerning custody, divorce, administrative decisions, in the family, at school and society at large, owing to the traditional societal attitudes towards children, and that the State party has insufficiently informed the public about the right of children to participate in all matters affecting them. The Committee is concerned that the child's view is only represented through the father or paternal grandfather or other appointed guardian and not directly by the child.
34. In the light of article 12 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party promote the right of children to express their views fully in all matters affecting them at school, within the family, in the courts and administrative bodies and in society in general. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party adopt and implement appropriate legislation, and undertake awareness-raising campaigns and educational programmes on the implementation of the principle of "respect for the views of the child". The Committee also recommends that the State party seek assistance from, among others, UNICEF in this regard.
4. Civil rights and freedoms
35. The Committee is concerned about discrimination against children on account of their father's nationality. It notes with concern that while a child whose father is an Iranian national is considered to have Iranian nationality, a child whose mother is Iranian and who has married a non-Iranian, without getting the official consent of the Government, will not be recognized as an Iranian national. The Committee is concerned that this situation currently affects a large number of children whose mothers are Iranian and fathers Afghan and who consequently have neither a birth certificate nor a nationality.
36. The Committee recommends that all children are registered at birth and acquire an irrevocable nationality without discrimination.
Right to birth registration
37. The Committee is concerned about information that a large number of Iranian children, particularly those living in rural areas, are still not registered at birth and that birth registration is required for school enrolment. It is also concerned about reports that a large number of children born of non-Iranian parents, and in particular Afghan parents, who have not registered in Iran, will similarly remain unregistered, thereby excluding them from obtaining a refugee registration card.
38. In the light of article 7 of the Convention, the Committee encourages the State party to adopt all appropriate measures to ensure the registration of all children at birth, including all refugee children born in rural areas. Such measures should include the establishment of mobile registration offices and, for children not yet registered, registration units in schools. In this context, the State party should ensure that the provisions of article 7 are fully enforced in conformity with the principles of non-discrimination (art. 2) and of the best interests of the child (art. 3), including the right of the child to know, as far as possible, his or her parents. Meanwhile, immediate access by children not registered at birth to basic services, such as health and education, should be ensured, while the registration of these children is properly prepared.
Freedom of expression and of assembly
39. The Committee remains concerned that, although freedom of expression and of assembly is formally recognized in the Constitution, the protection of this freedom is restricted by the requirement to interpret it in accordance with Islamic principles without clarifying at the outset the basis on which an action or expression is considered to be in keeping with such principles.
40. The Committee reiterates its recommendation, expressed in its previous concluding observations, that the State party establish clear criteria for determining whether a given action or expression is in accordance with Islamic law and the Convention in order to avoid arbitrary interpretations.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
41. The Committee is concerned that little progress has been made in the area of freedom of religion and notes that members of unrecognized religions continue to be discriminated against and do not have the same rights as those of recognized religions, for example with regard to access to social services. In addition, it continues to be concerned at reports that these minorities, in particular the Baha'i minority, are subjected to harassment, intimidation and imprisonment on account of their religious beliefs.
42. The Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures, including enacting or rescinding legislation, to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and ensure that members of minority religions are not imprisoned or otherwise ill-treated on account of their religion and that access to education for their children is provided on an equal footing with others.
Access to information
43. The Committee is concerned that access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources is very limited for persons under 18 years of age in the State party.
44. The Committee recommends that the State party take appropriate measures to allow access to appropriate information from a diversity of sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of the child's social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
Protection from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
45. The Committee deeply regrets that, under existing laws, persons below the age of 18 who have committed a crime can be subjected to corporal punishment and sentenced to various types of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, such as amputation, flogging or stoning, which are systematically imposed by judicial authorities and which the Committee considers to be totally incompatible with article 37 (a) and other provisions of the
46. In the light of the consideration of the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts, the Committee urges the State party to take all the necessary measures to ensure that persons who committed crimes while under 18 are not subjected to any form of corporal punishment and to immediately suspend the imposition and the execution of sentences of amputation, flogging, stoning and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
5. Family environment and alternative care
Child abuse and corporal punishment
47. The Committee continues to be concerned about legislation that provides for corporal punishment within the family. While welcoming the new Law on the Protection of Children and Adolescents (2003), which includes the prohibition of all forms of molestation and abuse of children and the obligation to report cases of child abuse, the exceptions stated therein continue to legally allow various forms of violence against children. More particularly, several articles of the Civil and Penal Code have been excluded, including article 1179 of the Civil Law and article 59 of the Penal Code, which gives parents the right to physically discipline their children within non-defined "normal limits". In the Committee's view, such exceptions contribute to the abuse of children inside and outside the family and contravene the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular article 19. The Committee also notes with concern, that certain forms of sexual abuse of children or grandchildren are not explicitly prohibited.
48. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Continue and strengthen its efforts, including through legislative and other measures, to prohibit and prevent all forms of physical and mental violence against
children, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse, in the family, in schools, and in other institutions, and take the necessary legislative measures to ensure that all those who sexually abuse children are punished without discrimination;
(b) Initiate public education campaigns against the use of all forms of violence against children and encourage alternative forms of discipline;
(c) Promote and support the effective operation of the child helpline, established in 2001, to allow children to seek advice and counselling in cases of, inter alia, abuse and neglect;
(d) Ensure the protection of victims of child abuse, including during investigation and court proceedings of child abuse cases. Such protection should include the provision of legal assistance, psychosocial assistance, child medical experts and the necessary facilities for hearing child abuse cases in court, such as video recording or closed-circuit television.
Institutional and alternative care
49. The Committee welcomes the information, in paragraphs 95 and 96 of the State party's report, that one of its priorities will be the development of child adoption in its lawful form and the provision of counselling services in that regard, but remains concerned at the lack of a clear legal and policy framework for various forms of alternative care, such as fostering, or kafalah. It is particularly concerned about the large number of orphaned children born out of wedlock, the large number of long-term orphans resulting from the Bam earthquake currently in institutional care, and the temporary placement of the children of drug addicts, who may be obliged to stay in institutional care for long periods, as well as the poor quality of supervision, monitoring and training of the staff of these institutions. It is also concerned about reports that a certain number of girls from these institutions are married off upon reaching the marriageable age (13 years).
50. The Committee recommends that the State party develop and implement legislative and other measures, policies and procedures to ensure that children do receive, when necessary, adequate alternative care, preferably in their own immediate families or extended families or in care of a family nature in the form of foster care, or kafalah, which fully respects the provisions of the Convention, in particular articles 20 and 21. In this regard, the Committee encourages the State party to undertake, as a self-recognized priority in its written replies, action to maintain and promote service standards for, inter alia, foster families, "pseudo families" and institutional care. The Committee further recommends that the State party ratify the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993 and seek technical assistance and advice on these issues from, among others, the Hague Conference on Private
International Law and UNICEF.
Children in prison with their mothers
51. The Committee is concerned about the large number of children living in prisons with their mothers, their living conditions and the regulation of their care if they are separated from their mothers in prison.
52. The Committee recommends that the State party develop and implement clear guidelines on the placement of children with their mothers in prison (e.g. the age of the children, the length of stay, contact with the outside world and movement in and out of prison) and ensure that the living conditions in prisons are adequate for the child's development in accordance with article 27 of the Convention. It further recommends that the State party develop and implement adequate alternative care for children who are removed from prison and allow them to maintain personal relations and direct contact with their mothers remaining in prison.
6. Basic health and welfare
Children with disabilities
53. While welcoming the programmes undertaken by the State party on the causes and prevention of disabilities, the Committee is concerned at the low number of disabled children attending school and the lack of information provided by the State party on attempts to integrate disabled children into the mainstream school system since the consideration of the initial report. It is also concerned at the low level of financial support received by these children and their families.
54. In the light of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (General Assembly resolution 48/96 of 20 December 1993, annex) and of the Committee's recommendations adopted at its day of general discussion on the rights of children with disabilities (see CRC/C/69, paras. 310-339), the Committee recommends that the State party adopt measures to integrate children with disabilities into mainstream education, including adopting the necessary measures to adapt schools to receiving children with different kinds of disability. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake at the same time public campaigns with a view to raising the level of awareness of the general public of the rights of the child. Nutrition
55. While welcoming the establishment and success of the primary health-care system, the Committee is concerned that despite a specific programme designed to address the problem of nutrition the percentage of moderately and severely underweight, stunted and wasted children remains static.
56. The Committee recommends that the State party make concerted efforts to combat malnutrition, inter alia, by completing and implementing the national Nutritional Strategy for Children.
57. The Committee is concerned at the insufficient information provided by the State party in relation to adolescent health, particularly with respect to reproductive health and initiatives undertaken to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
58. In the light of its general comment No. 4 (2003) on adolescent health and development in the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee recommends that the State party take measures to address adolescent health issues and develop a comprehensive policy to provide adolescents in both urban and rural areas with reproductive health counselling and services, including family life education, especially on the effects of early marriage and on family planning, as well as to prevent and combat HIV/AIDS and the harmful effects of drugs. As the most vulnerable group exposed to these risks, young people should be given priority in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the increase in drug abuse. In this respect, the State party is encouraged to seek technical
assistance from United Nations agencies such as the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, UNICEF, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Population Fund.
7. Education, leisure and cultural activities
59. Although the Committee notes the high level of literacy in Iran and the measures taken by the State party to increase school enrolment and lower dropout rates, it remains concerned that not all children are enrolled in or graduate from primary school. Working children, children living on the streets and children without complete personal documents, particularly refugee children with binational parents, have reduced access to schools. It is also concerned that refugee children are currently only being enrolled in schools if their parents have registered with the authorities, and that the enrolment of refugee children is not currently being offered free of charge. It is further concerned about well-documented information that a large number of Baha'i students were not admitted to university on the grounds of their religious affiliation.
60. The Committee is also concerned about the disparity that continues to exist between boys and girls; the high dropout rates of girls in rural schools upon reaching puberty; the lack of female teachers in rural areas; long distances between homes and schools, which keep girls at home, particularly after primary school and the lack of mobile schools for nomadic children, as well as the remarkable differences in the personal and material equipment between schools in urban and rural areas and between the most and least developed provinces, resulting in unequal educational opportunities. In addition, it regrets that the decision to expand compulsory education beyond the five years of primary school has been delayed for many years.
61. While welcoming the State party's initiatives with respect to youth, the Committee encourages the State party to continue its efforts to reach its goal of universal basic education and recommends that the State party:
(a) Expand compulsory and free education beyond the fifth year of primary school and develop and implement such a plan without further delay;
(b) Ensure that all children, including refugee children, have equal educational opportunities on all levels of the educational system without discrimination based on gender, religion, ethnic origin, nationality or statelessness;
(c) Eliminate all disparities in resources provided to schools in urban and rural areas in order to guarantee equal educational opportunities throughout the country;
(d) Better equip schools with textbooks, other materials, and well-trained teachers, particularly female teachers, and introduce active, creative, and cooperative
learning methods in schools to promote children's capacities in a knowledge-based economy and society;
(e) Continue and reinforce its collaboration with the OHCHR to incorporate human rights education, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, into the
8. Special protection measures
Refugee and migrant children
62. While welcoming the efforts made by the State party so far in the repatriation of Iraqi and Iranian refugee children and their families, and noting the State party's commitment to include children of Afghan and Iraqi refugees in the recent registrations of Afghans and Iraqis residing in Iran, the Committee is concerned at reports of the deportation of unaccompanied children, mostly Afghans, back to their country of origin and the lack of access by humanitarian organizations to these children. It is concerned at reports of unaccompanied children arriving in Iran from neighbouring countries, in particular Afghanistan, allegedly for the purpose of exploitation. The Committee is further concerned about the fate of Afghan children and their families who are not in a position to return to Afghanistan for different reasons, including their strong links with Iran or the fact that the mother of the family is Iranian.
63. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Allow immediate access by humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies to all unaccompanied children in the State party;
(b) Discontinue the practice of deporting unaccompanied children under 18 years of age back to Afghanistan and take the necessary steps to reunite all unaccompanied children with their families or take effective measures to integrate these children into society;
(c) Ensure that Afghan families who are not in a position to return to Afghanistan are not forcibly deported but assisted to integrate into society;
(d) Ensure that all refugee children are registered and have full access to free education, health and other services;
(e) Continue its cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other United Nations agencies.
64. The Committee continues to be concerned about the large number of children living and/or working in the streets, particularly in urban centres such as Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz. It regrets that the State party could not present studies on the extent and nature of the problem and is concerned that the centres known as "Khaneh Sabz", "Khaneh Shoush" and "Khaneh Reyhane" homes, which were established to assist these children, albeit in a limited capacity, have been closed down. It is equally concerned at reports of the round-up and arrest of Afghan children in the streets despite the fact that they were registered with the authorities, and that as a "condition" for their release the authorities request that their parents register for repatriation. The Committee welcomes the policy of the State party to reunite children with their families, whenever possible, and notes the State party's assurances that these children are assembled in centres for further assistance and not arrested with police methods.
65. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Take measures to address the large and increasing number of street children, with the aim of protecting these children, especially girls, and of preventing and reducing this phenomenon, in particular through assistance to families and the provision of adequate housing and access to education;
(b) Ensure that street children are provided with adequate nutrition, clothing, housing, health care and educational opportunities, including vocational and life-skills training, in order to support their full development, providing official documents when necessary;
(c) Ensure that child victims of physical, sexual and substance abuse are provided with recovery and reintegration services, protection from arbitrary and/or unlawful arrest and maltreatment by the police, and effective services for reconciliation with their families and community;
(d) Ensure that all Afghan children rounded up on the streets are released and are not used to push their parents to repatriate;
(e) Collaborate with NGOs working with street children in the State party and seek technical assistance from relevant United Nations and other international
66. The Committee is concerned at reports that drug abuse is on the increase, that the age of addiction has decreased, that there is a lack of statistical data in this regard and that a programme initiated in 1997 does not seem to be effective.
67. The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures to increase awareness of drug abuse, to prevent and eliminate this problem, inter alia, by strengthening the implementation of the 1997 programme and to include children themselves, parents, teachers and other professionals in these efforts.
68. While welcoming the ratification on 8 June 2002 by the State party of ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, the Committee remains concerned at the large number of children below the age of 15, particularly in rural areas, who are involved in child labour, especially in the informal sector, including carpet weaving and other traditional family businesses. The Committee also notes that although article 79 of the Labour Code sets the minimum age of access to employment at 15, other legislation, including the Agricultural Code, sets that age at 12.
69. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Review its legislation on the minimum age of access to employment so that the minimum age of 15 applies in all situations of labour;
(b) Reconsider the existing list of prohibited forms of worst labour with a view to reducing and eliminating existing exceptions;
(c) Vigorously pursue enforcement of minimum-age standards, including requiring employers to have, and produce on demand, proof of age of all children working on their premises;
(d) Provide the labour inspectors with all the necessary support, including child labour expertise, with a view to enabling them to monitor effectively at the State and local level the implementation of labour law standards and to receive and address complaints of violations;
(e) Consider ratifying ILO Convention No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and adopting accordingly explicit legislation and measures to protect children from economic exploitation through labour in the informal sector, including family enterprises, agricultural activities and as domestic labour, and that technical inspections be extended to these areas;
(f) Seek technical assistance from ILO in order to establish an IPEC programme in Iran.
70. The Committee is concerned about reports of trafficking and sale of persons under 18 years of age, particularly young girls from rural areas, facilitated by "temporary marriages" or "siqeh" - marriages which last from 1 hour to 99 years. It is also concerned at reports of the trafficking of such persons from Afghanistan to Iran, who are apparently sold or sent by their families in Afghanistan for exploitation, including cheap labour.
71. Considering that the sale and trafficking of children is a criminal offence, the Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate legislative and
administrative measures to prevent and eliminate this phenomenon and to ensure that traffickers are prosecuted, convicted and punished.
Administration of juvenile justice
72. The Committee welcomes the efforts of the State party to improve the laws with regard to persons below 18 in conflict with the law, in particular the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts mentioned in paragraph 8 above. However, it deplores the information referred to in paragraph 29 above that, despite the statement of the delegation made during the consideration of the second periodic report that, in view of that Bill, executions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18 have been suspended, such executions and ill-treatment have continued since the consideration by the Committee of the State party's initial report. The Committee remains concerned at the existing poor quality of the rules and practices in the juvenile justice system, reflected, inter alia, in the lack of statistical data, the limited use of specialized juvenile courts and judges, the low age of criminal responsibility, the lack of adequate alternatives to custodial sentences, and the imposition of torture and other cruel or inhuman punishment and in particular of the death penalty.
73. The Committee reiterates its recommendation contained in paragraph 9 above that the State party take, as a matter of the highest priority, the necessary measures for the approval and implementation of the Bill on the Establishment of Juvenile Courts and ensure that it complies with the provisions of the Convention, in particular articles 37, 39 and 40, as well as with other relevant international standards in this area, such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the Vienna Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System, in the light of the day of general discussion on the administration of juvenile justice, held by the Committee in 1995. In this respect, the Committee urges the State party, in particular:
(a) To suspend immediately, for an unlimited period of time, the imposition and execution of the death penalty for crimes committed by persons under 18, and to take all measures to implement paragraph 30 of the present concluding observations;
(b) To suspend immediately the imposition and execution of all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, such as amputation, flogging or stoning, for crimes committed by persons under 18;
(c) To continue to improve the quality and availability of specialized juvenile courts and judges, police officers and prosecutors;
(d) To develop and implement alternatives to custodial sentences;
(e) To ensure that persons under 18 are provided with legal assistance of good quality throughout the process;
(f) To develop and implement adequate support, counselling and other services so as to promote integration into society of juveniles who have been in conflict with the law and in particular those who have been deprived of their liberty;
(g) To train judges and other professionals also in the area of social rehabilitation of children;
(h) To seek technical assistance from and cooperation with, among others, OHCHR and UNICEF.
9. Optional Protocols to the Convention
74. The Committee notes that the State Party has not ratified the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
75. The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
10. Follow-up and dissemination
76. The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures to ensure the full implementation of the present recommendations, inter alia, by transmitting them to members of the Council of Ministers, the cabinet or a similar body, and, where appropriate, to provincial or State Governments and the Majlis for appropriate consideration and further action.
77. The Committee further recommends that the second periodic report and written replies submitted by the State party and related recommendations (concluding observations) it adopted be made widely available, including through the Internet (but not exclusively), to the public at large, civil society organizations, youth groups and children in order to generate debate and awareness of the Convention, its implementation and monitoring.
11. Next report
78. In the light of the recommendation on reporting periodicity adopted by the Committee and described in CRC/C/139, the Committee underlines the importance of a reporting practice that is in full compliance with the provisions of article 44 of the Convention. An important aspect of States parties' responsibilities to children under the Convention is ensuring that the Committee has regular opportunities to examine the progress made in the implementation of the Convention. In this regard, regular and timely reporting by States parties is crucial. As an exceptional measure, in order to help the State party catch up with its reporting obligations so as to be in full compliance with the Convention, the Committee invites the State party to submit its third and fourth periodic reports in one consolidated report by 11 February 2010, i.e. 18 months before the date on which the fourth periodic report is due. This consolidated report should not exceed 120 pages (see CRC/C/118). The Committee expects the State party to report every five years thereafter, as foreseen by the Convention.
Suggestions and recommendations
[See Principal subjects of concern]