Iran’s Guardian Council has ratified the Child and Adolescent Protection Act, turning it into law — nine years after the bill was first sent to the Majlis (Iranian Parliament), according to the Spokesman for the Guardian Council Abbasali Kadkhodaei.
In comments reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mr. Kadkhodaei explained: “The council ratified the bill after ruling that it did not violate the Constitution and religious principles.”
The announcement comes less than three weeks after the honor killing of Romina Ashrafi, a 14-year Iranian girl who had eloped with a 29-year-old man in mid-May from her hometown of Talesh, in the northern province of Gilan. Authorities had detained the couple and returned Romina to her family. She was subsequently decapitated by her father while sleeping in their family home in late May.
Father’s Killing of 14-Year-Old Daughter Stirs Outrage in Iran
Speaking about Romina Ashrafi’s murder during a press briefing late last month, Kadkhodaei said: “This is an unforgivable crime which violated the Constitution and religious laws. It was an inhumane act. We join people from all walks of life in condemning this and similar abhorrent crimes.”
“A single law cannot fix these problems, however,” Kadkhodaei noted. “There are social and cultural issues and probably even an economic aspect to them. Everyone must try to correct these ills. Our job is to review the Child and Adolescent Protection Act, which does not have a direct relationship to this specific case. The [criminal] case is going through the proper legal channels.”
Dr. Hadi Tahan-Nazif, a lawyer and a member of the Guardian Council, recently said: “The government and the Judiciary had sent the Child and Adolescent Protection Bill to the Majlis in 2010, but it was not passed until 2018. In its initial review, the Guardian Council identified several issues and sent the bill back to the Majlis. The council sent the bill back to the Majlis two more times after that with some concerns. Unfortunately, the process was never completed. The passage of the bill by the Majlis and the council’s concerns about some aspects of it have nothing to do with the tragic incident regarding Romina [Ashrafi].”
The council had recently said that it needed more time to review the latest version of the bill, yet fast-tracked its approval after the brutal murder of Ms. Ashrafi.
Romina Ashrafi’s killing caused public outrage both at home and abroad, with many people calling for more robust family and child protection laws.
On June 8, Masumeh Ebtekar, Vice President in Charge and Women and Family Affairs, tweeted in English: “The law for support for children and youth has been approved by the Guardian Council which is the final stage of legislation. Based on Islamic teachings and social and psychological sciences and experiences, this one of the most progressive laws for child rights in the world.”
The Child and Adolescent Protection Act was first sent to the Majlis in 2010 when the former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in office. There were 54 articles in the original bill. The Majlis finally passed the bill in July 2018. Until recently, the Guardian Council had refused to make the bill into law.
This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.