UNICEF appreciates use of art to protect children in contact with the law
Tehran, 21 July 2013- On a hot summer evening in July, a team from UNICEF Iran Office including the Representative, the Child Protection Officer and the Communications Officer accompanied by UNICEF Iran Goodwill Ambassador and Cinema actress, Ms. Mahtab Keramati watched a play in Arasbaran Cultural Centre about children in contact with the law which left them all dazzled and deeply impressed.
Telling the true stories of young inmates and their families waiting in the death row in Juvenile Correction and Rehabilitation Centre (JCRC),” The Blue Feeling of Death” directed by Mr. Amin Miri and written by Mr. Sajad Afsharian, gives the audience a close-up view of various angles of juvenile execution including the deep sorrow of the families of victims as well as the innocent child living inside the alleged offenders.
“It is great that art is used to educate all of us about silent suffering of many people around us. In this particular play, the focus has been, on one hand, on the sadness and anger of families who lost some loved ones as a result of awful crimes of murder. On the other hand, the play also reflected the side of the young offenders sentenced to death and awaiting execution for many years now, their deep regret of what they did, and the anxiety about the actual moment of execution. The play also shed light on the suffering of the families of the young offenders awaiting execution: years of waiting for a phone call to inform them to come and collect the bodies of executed daughters or sons. Not an easy situation for any side. However, the play reminds all of us of a fundamental principle in Islam, “forgiveness”, pardoning those who seriously offend us”. Said UNICEF Iran Representative, Munir Safieldin” It is also good to see that the Iranian officials in the judiciary, specially the JCRC have fully supported the cast and crew to ensure the final product thoroughly reflects every detail of this bitter truth whether in the lives of juvenile offenders or the families of the victims.”
The script specifically emphasized the important fact that the young alleged offenders had fallen victims to unfavorable conditions in their lives which led them to commit serious offenses. It also highlighted “pardoning” as a great humane value in the Iranian society which should be further encouraged and promoted.
“This play was so impressive that I felt the real characters are speaking on the stage. I felt with all my heart the deep pain and suffering of these children and their families” said UNICEF Iran GWA, Mahtab Keramati “If this play can help save a single life, it has done a great benefit to humanity”
Mr. Safieldin admired the cast and crew for their relentless efforts in matching their acting so well with the living characters of the story whom he had earlier met in the JCRC. “UNICEF appreciates the messages communicated by this play including non-violent dispute settlement among young people”. He said.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most widely accepted human rights treaty ever, has clearly banned execution of any person for committing a crime under the age of 18. UNICEF is working with all governments to ensure that children are better served and protected by the justice systems at all levels. UNICEF specifically aims to ensure full application of international norms and standards for all children who come into contact with the justice systems as victims, witnesses, alleged offenders or for any other reason where judicial intervention is