Today, November 20, is Universal Children’s Day, a day that should be devoted to the welfare of children everywhere. On this day in 1989, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
This treaty absolutely bans the death penalty for child offenders, yet a few countries, especially Iran, continue to carry out these illegal executions. Call for Iran to immediately stop executing child offenders!
Like every country on earth – except the U.S. and Somalia – Iran is a state party to the CRC. Yet Iran continues to execute child offenders, including at least 7 this year, and there are around 130 juvenile offenders awaiting execution in Iran right now.
On October 16, the government of Iran seemed to announce that it was no longer going to execute child offenders. But on October 18, Iranian officials “clarified” their position by stating that the ban on child offender executions would not apply to those sentenced to retribution for committing murder. The apparent ban on child offender executions turned out to be virtually meaningless.
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA
Iran is one of the only countries in the world that still executes children and child offenders. At least 15 child offenders have been executed in Iran in the last two years. On October 16, 2008, The Government of Iran announced an end to this shameful practice, but on October 18 Iran clarified that this directive would not apply to child offenders sentenced to qesas or retribution. The vast majority of the more than 130 juveniles sentenced to death in Iran still face execution.
Message Recipients: Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
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Please End Child Offender Executions
I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the imposition of the death penalty for child offenders in Iran. At the current time, at least 130 child offenders are reportedly facing the death penalty in Iran. Iran is the only country in the world known to have executed a child offender in 2008.
I am especially disappointed that, even though a statement issued by your government on October 16, 2008, appeared to announce a moratorium on the execution of all child offenders, a second statement issued on October 18 clarified that the moratorium would not apply to those sentenced to qesas or retribution. I am further deeply disturbed at the execution on October 29 of Gholamreza H. who was seventeen at the time of his alleged crime. He is the seventh known juvenile offender to have been executed so far this year.
Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states in Article 6 that, “Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” The Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is also a state party, states in Article 37 that, “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” On September 2, 2008, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Iran to end juvenile executions.
I urge you to overturn the death sentences of all child offenders in Iran and to implement a moratorium on all executions of those convicted of crimes committed before they were 18 years of age, including those who were sentenced to qesas.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.