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Launching Children’s Day celebrations, UNICEF Iran


UNICEF’s Representative in Iran, Christian Salazar, encouraged the Iranian Government today to develop and implement, as soon as possible, an action plan against child abuse.

Speaking at a press conference to kick off a series of UNICEF-sponsored events to celebrate this year’s Children’s Day, Salazar said, that such a move would represent a highly significant step forward and make a real difference for the lives of many children in Iran.

“There are very special gifts every child can receive on any day of the year, not only on Children’s Day: kindness, care and attention. Sadly, some children do not receive such gifts in their day-to-day lives. Instead, they are neglected by the very same adults that are supposed to take care of them, or are subject to verbal abuse or even physical violence" said Salazar.

“We are happy to witness the interest and commitment of Iran’s citizens and government to prevent all forms of violence against children in its society,” Salazar added. “A plan of action against child abuse would be an important cornerstone of such an engagement. It would require the strong support of civil society, the media, parents, teachers – in short, everyone who works with and for children.”

Concluding the five-year global UNICEF campaign, “A World Fit for Children,” this year’s Children’s Day is being celebrated in Iran under the additional theme of “A World Free of Violence.” The theme directly connects to a five-year UNICEF project undertaken with the Iranian Government, which focuses on the prevention of child abuse. It includes initiatives such as child hotlines, law development and codes of conduct for caretakers, as well as the training of government staff in early detection and awareness-raising of child abuse.

UNICEF Iran also worked with some of the country’s most eminent Shi’ite religious leaders to produce a booklet that comprises their views on the treatment of children by adults and violence-free discipline. To encourage the wider Iranian public to celebrate Children’s Day under the theme of violence against children and better parenting skills, the booklet – together with an extensive information package on the issue – was sent out to more than 300 governmental and non-governmental organizations, schools and the media.

UNICEF Iran will celebrate Children’s Day with a full week of cultural events, which were organized together with Karnameh Cultural Artistic Institute. Negar Eskandarfar, who heads Karnameh, says that during her past years of training young people on cultural and artistic activities, she had come across many of them that were emotionally scarred during their childhood.

“This is the reason why for a long time I have wanted to create an opportunity that harnesses the talents of children and youth, providing them with the facilities to explore their capacities. With UNICEF Iran, we have been able to use Children’s Day as a window of opportunity to foster the public’s understanding of children’s need and their concerns,” said Negar Eskandarfar.

These events, which will take place at the Iranian Artists Forum, include film presentations by famous directors such as Kamboozia Partovi, a puppet theatre performance, painting competitions and book readings by well-known Iranian artists. These will include UNICEF Iran’s National Goodwill Ambassador Mahtab Keramati, as well as her fellow actors, Ezzatollah Entezami, Iraj Tahmaseb, Leyli Rashidi and Hamed Behdad, and the film director, Marzieh Borumand. The activities are meant to engage both children and adults, to allow for an interactive engagement of youth with their parents, teachers or caretakers. The events at the Artists Forum are open to everyone and are for free for all visitors.

“A World Fit for Children”
In May 2002, participants at the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Children committed to a set of specific goals for children and youth and a basic framework for meeting these goals. The resulting document, “A World Fit for Children,” reviews progress made in the area of children’s rights and well-being, and presents a plan of action, including goals and strategies, mechanisms for mobilizing resources, and follow-up actions and assessment.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Alexander Nitzsche, Chief of Communication, 22594994, ext 110,
Bahareh Yeganehfar, Communication Assistant, 2259 4994, ext 110, ***


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