UN Authority Figures

U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board: Iran

Leila was nine years old when she was forced into prostitution. "A girl is considered one of the first commodities or properties that can be traded or sold in the eyes of a parent who is poor in Iran," says Shadi Sadr, an Iranian lawyer. (BBC, November 29, 2007)

Mission of the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF): "UNICEF is mandated by the UN General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities. UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority." (U.N. Children's Fund web-site, "UNICEF's Mission Statement")

Term of office: 2008-2010

Iran's Record on Children:
"The government executed numerous persons for criminal convictions as juveniles and after unfair trials...Child labor remained a serious problem...The law permits children to work in agriculture, domestic service, and some small businesses...There was no information regarding enforcement of these regulations... There were reportedly significant numbers of children, particularly Afghan but also Iranian, working as street vendors in Tehran and other cities and not attending school... Citizen children were trafficked internally, and Afghan children were trafficked to the country for the purpose of forced commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude as beggars and laborers...[C]hild Abuse was largely regarded as a private family matter...[C]hild sexual abuse was rarely reported...The law requires court approval for the marriage of girls younger than 13 and boys younger than 15; however, it was reportedly not unusual in rural areas for parents to have their children marry before they become teenagers...3 million children were prevented from obtaining education because their families forced them to work. Unofficial sources claimed the figure was closer to 5 million." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2008, Iran)