Child Rights Experts in Iran Exchange Views on Social Protection of Children
Tehran, 23 Feb 2014- In a one day technical session on social protection of children jointly organized by UNICEF Iran Office and the Ministry of cooperatives, labour and social welfare(MOCLSW), senior child rights experts and social policy analysts from government and non-governmental sectors including academia and civil society as well as senior UNICEF officials exchanged views on various aspects of social protection of children specially for the vulnerable and most at-risk groups.
In this technical session named” Exchanging views on successful models of social protection of children”, Acting Minister of Cooperative, Labour and Social welfare in International Affairs, Dr. Mohammad Taqi Hosseini said:”A healthy, developed and happy society is one in which children and their rights are duly respected and this has been always emphasized by Islamic teachings.”
Commenting on the fact that the current process of protecting children in government and non-government sectors in Iran is quite pessimistic, Dr. Hosseini reiterated:”the government is giving special attention to at-risk and vulnerable children both in terms of budget and policy-making.” He also named some of Iranian government’s successful measures in protecting children in different areas such as health, nutritious poverty and social harms and said: ”For instance, providing a warm meal in the rural child care centres is one of the successful models of the social protection of children which has been given critical attention by officials in the government.”
Meanwhile UNICEF Representative in Iran, Mohemd El Munir Safieldin, emphasized on the importance of equity for children and moving beyond averages in a country like Iran where national averages are good. He explained that the social protection of children is not just the responsibility of one single ministry, but it is a national strategy which should be applied by various ministries and organizations.” Iran has been very successful in social protection of children; however more work should be done in documenting the successful experiences.” Said Dr. Safieldin.
UNICEF’s Social Policy Specialist at the MENA Regional Office, Mr. Samman Thapa who had travelled to Iran to attend this meeting emphasized the importance of investing in children as account for one third of Iran’s population and said:” Equitable investments in children help prevent irreversible cognitive and physical impacts in their development, and also have very high rates of return” Mr. Thapa described child poverty as a multi-faceted issue which should be given due attention from all sides including health, nutrition, shelter, education, etc. Referring to the successful example of South Africa in implementing social cash transfers (including a universal child support grant), this UNICEF official said: ”In South Africa the child grant has had a concrete impact in improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable children in terms of health, nutrition, education etc.. In addition, social cash transfers therealso helped in reducing income inequality – a topic of key concern in many Middle Income Countries.”
In this meeting, Dr. Vaez Mahdavi, University professor and advisor to president in strategic monitoring said:” A national policy document on protection of children has been prepared by the SWO University and the parliament which will be implemented in the sixth development plan. So we expect the MoCLSW to develop policies and plans for social protection of children based on this national document.”
Children are so innocent in the politics and Afghan children are the most innocent groups of all social groups in our country. ‘said Dr. Mahdavi” whoever lives in our country should have access to health, treatment, education and all social services. This has been emphasized in our religious and moral teachings of our seniors who have advised us on protecting human dignity and supporting mankind’s spiritual development.”
The session ended with a presentation on some of the successful achievements of the Ministry of cooperatives, labour and social welfare, the Ministry of Health as well as Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation(IRF) in the areas of social protection of children.