On behalf of the entire team of UNICEF Iran, 50 people in total, just three of them non Iranian, I wish you a happy new year.
Looking back to the year that passed, we have seen progress in the situation of Iranian children in several areas with social development indicators gradually improving; although more needs to be done still to ensure that every Iranian child's right to health education and protection is met.
UNICEF has in Iran in the past year again been able to promote children's rights and well-being in Iran with practical activities and initiatives. We did that in cooperation with a variety of Iranian partners, from Government departments to small and large NGOs, from religious universities and religious leaders to famous moviestars and sport celebrities, All agreed to support the cause of children, as did the numerous members of the public and corporations who supported UNICEF in this last year. We are thankful for this support and for the close partnerships we have with many parts of the Iranian society.
I give just a few examples of achievements of the past year. A dent was made in the problem of child malnutrition in the South East of the country with the opening of 100 nutritional counselling centres. The school completion rate of girls also improved. Interesting research on children's rights in relation to Islamic teachings has started, which provide evidence that children's rights in no way contradict to Islam. More judges and police were trained on juvenile justice standards.This has led to the start of alternative sentences being given to juveniles. Child helplines and counselling services were set up to support child victims of abuse or to provide a listening ear for children and youth with psychosocial needs.
The list of achievements, too long for this short address and I invite you to visit our website www.unicef.org/iran/fa for an overview of what UNICEF is doing in Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to the United Nations Millennium Goals for social development and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is this commitment, and the professionalism and dedication of the many Iranian professional we work with, that stems me hopeful that we can continue with ever more achievements in the new year.
Thank you for listening to me, and a special thanks to all UNICEF supporters among you. IN whatever country you are, there is a UNICEF office. Get in touch with UNICEF.
I wish you a happy new year!