Like much of the world my eyes have been riveted to the protests after the Iranian election on June 12. The results of this potential revolution could be extraordinary in terms of human rights if it is successful.
Not too long ago I read Shirin Ebadi's book "Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope". Ebadi, an attorney known for her stalwart activism for women and children's rights in Iran, writes a compelling tale of her struggle for human rights in Iran despite unbelievable restriction. She is one of many activists fighting for a better Iran for its children.
A free Iran could mean reform in many areas of child welfare, including:
- Alteration of the abysmal child custody system that can award custody to abusers over innocent mothers
- The elimination of child execution for crimes
- Investigation into the sexual abuse of children that appears to be permitted by fatwa of Khameni and perhaps engaged in by the Ayatollah himself according to one source
- Changes in the definition of child (children are adults at 9 for girls and 15 for boys) to enable a broader application of potential child protective laws
- Freedom for reformers like Shirin Ebadi to return to Iran and work to end human rights abuses for children and others
Although I agree with President Obama that this situation calls for restraint on the part of the United States who could potentially make matters worse for dissidents by becoming entangled, the United Nations is in a unique position to address the potential abuses in the election because Iran is a member nation.
I stand in support of those seeking freedom for Iran, because the children of Iran need a voice, particularly Iran's female children. I urge you, and the United Nations as a body, to do the same.
Photo copyright Ed Hale