Posted by: childrenofiran | February 17, 2012

Our Work Continues at Mission Free Iran

From the time that we began this site, as we worked during the 2009 uprising in Iran, we ultimately came to the conclusion that in order to best serve children in Iran, we needed to aim our efforts differently, politically. We needed to take aim at the entirety of the Islamic Republic regime, which is fundamentally responsible for the appalling conditions children in Iran are suffering.

We welcome you to visit us and work with us at our current site,

Maria Rohaly,
Mission Free Iran

Posted by: childrenofiran | December 25, 2009

Warmest Wishes for the Season

Warmest Wishes
for Peace and

The year 2009 has been both an exciting and a difficult and painful one for many who read these pages. The excitement comes with the thoughts of a new Iran. Liberty, freedom and democracy for Iran has been on the lips of people all over the world. Difficulty and pain comes when a people whose only hope is that they can be free to make their own decisions about their country are beaten, arrested and murdered by their own government.

The hearts of people the world over have been inspired to help one another, to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, to fight for the futures of children the world over – from Darfur to Somalia, from Afghanistan to Haiti. For what child does not have the right to decent food, a warm bed in which to sleep, an education and freedom from fear of execution, which for many, occurs before their twentieth year? What child does not have the right to a bright future, filled with hope?

At this holiday season, we often hear the phrase “Peace on earth, goodwill to all men”. When we hear it, we think of brotherhood, the love of all people, no matter what color or creed. We envision a world where peace is universal – where there is no need for human rights organizations because we have helped create a just and humane world where peace and prosperity extends to all. And so we dedicate our lives to the work of bringing peace on earth and goodwill to men, women and children throughout the world. We ask that you join us in this endeavor, whether in action, thought or prayer.

Our wish for you is that peace will reign in your heart, that the love of your fellow man is reflected in all that you do. We sincerely wish that your year will be filled with happiness, prosperity and a sense of unity with mankind. For what ever we believe in, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Baha´i, Buddhist, Atheist or call ourselves by no name at all, there is one force above any other binding us and our future together – we are members of the family of mankind. Let us throw the doors open wide and celebrate each other, in all of our diversity, for we are all, no matter what our sectarian or ethnic group, brothers and sisters. Let us throw away that which separates us. Let the innocence of our children, who know no differences until they are taught otherwise, be our guide. Let us learn that we are one and we are destined to love and care for one another.

we are the world
We are the World. We are the Children.

Posted by: childrenofiran | December 23, 2009

Iranian girls’ karate team defeats the competition

December 2009: Iranian girls free themselves of hejab for karate competition in Germany.

It was in the news that the Iranian girls’ karate team competed in Germany without hejab! Do we need to look in the results chart to realize these girls all won gold?

Those old enough to remember the days following the 1979 revolution remember how Iranian women, empty-handed, demanded gender equality and freedom in glorious demonstrations.

The same generation remembers how surly Islamic thugs, Hezbollahis, and Islamic “Phalange,” armed with knives, acid bottles, bats, chains and firearms, attacked these peaceful demonstrations. They screamed the dirty phrase of “Ya ru sari – Ya tu sari,”* broke arms and legs, burnt, maimed, killed, and passed laws of sexual discrimination to create a society based on gender apartheid.

Those who were there, and the younger generation, know that Iranian girls and women have never submitted to the barbaric law of Islamic Shariá.

And yet the international community has pervasively preached a mantra of “cultural relativism” vis-a-vis the Islamic world, while ignoring the daily confrontations of Iranian women in their struggle for freedom, and gender equality. To demonstrate Western “democracies’” tolerance towards Islamic barbarism, Angela Merkel, Maud Olofsson, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and their likes play “dress-up” in the Islamic symbol of women’s slavery, while girls and women in Iran, whose relationship to hejab is not at all frivolous, seethe under the imposed veil.

Beneath this imposed hejab in Iran, another parallel world has existed all along. Iranian women, driven by the necessity of equal rights, motivated by the promise of unavoidable defeat of the regime, have not retreated from the political scene, and have not accepted defeat.

Out of the past thirty years of the darkest period of Iranian history, Iranian women – and girls – are on forward march. They are leading a revolution. They are the radical force behind the revolutionary demands, they are the power which is about to free a whole society. They have already defeated the Islamic regime and political Islam in the West, and this is only the beginning!

Our young women fighting karate in Munich threw away the symbol of Islamic slavery. This brave movement will continue. We will soon celebrate the day that Iranian women and girls on the front line of the demonstrations burn the hejab and smash the foundations of Islamic oppression.

Iranian women 1, Islamic regime 0.

Victory is ours.

*”(You will wear) the hejab, or (there will be) beatings!”

Posted by: childrenofiran | December 12, 2009

A Child’s Garden

We believe that a vibrant grassroots, democratic, civically-engaged community provides the best conditions for growth for the most beautiful flowers, our children.

Voices of Children in Iran wanted to visually represent this idea as a contribution to the 12/12 Arts United for Iran event. We hope it will serve as a message of worldwide solidarity with the children of Iran.

The flowers included in the composition were contributed by people, younger and older, all over the world, who wanted the children in Iran to know that we are thinking of you, all of you, and you are much loved. The poem that appears in the poster is also an original contribution by the author, written expressly for this project.

Please click on the image to enlarge, then click again on following page to further enlarge.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, we were unable to include all of the flowers that were submitted for this effort in the poster itself. We include additional submissions below.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who submitted a flower or poetry to this effort – with every flower received, more warmth blossomed in our hearts. We only hope that we have done justice to your efforts.

Posted by: childrenofiran | December 10, 2009

December 10: Human Rights Day

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brother/sisterhood.
-Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Arabic, Armenian, Azari, Assyrian, Balochi, Dari, English, Farsi/Persian, Kurdish, Kurmanji, Pashto, Tajik, Turkmen, Urdu, and Uzbek. Languages spoken in Iran for which there is currently no translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights include Lori, Kalhor, Horami, Qashqai, and Lari)

On December 10, the world celebrates Human Rights Day. The Day marks the anniversary of the Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

We celebrate Human Rights Day 2009 with Iran in our hearts.

It is a nation where millions have stood up in the face of a murderous government to demand their rights for themselves and for their children.

It is a nation where speaking out against the government has known consequences: torture, rape, execution by hanging or stoning or gunshot, mass execution followed by burial in unmarked graves.

In a nation held hostage by a government that refuses to recognize fundamental human rights, daily small and large acts of resistance by concerned citizens have culminated in a force for change that is as inexorable as the tide.

For this, we honor and salute Iran’s everyday freedom fighters, the champions of human rights whose faces and names are never known.

Children’s Day Celebration, Piranshar, Iran
Photo courtesy of Children First Now

At the same time that we honor Iranian citizens for their defense and demand of human rights in Iran, we utterly condemn the Iranian government for its repeated and flagrant abuses of humanity, both inside and outside of its geographic boundaries.

The many images of violent repression of peaceful rights-seeking Iranians in the wake of the June 2009 elections illustrate the low regard the government of Iran has for the basic rights and freedoms of its people. We further illustrate the degree to which Iran is egregious in its disregard for human rights by presenting data from Freedom House’s 2009 Freedom in the World Report.

For every country in the world, this report assesses seven subcategories of what constitute political rights and civil liberties. These subcategories, drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, represent the fundamental components of freedom. Here, we present relative national score rankings for 2 of the 7 subcategories: Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights, and Freedom of Expression and Belief.

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Links to sources of information on the human rights situation in Iran:

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

Amnesty International: Iran 2009 report

Report of the Secretary-General, September 23 2009: The situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (html/pdf)

Human Rights Watch: Iran

Posted by: childrenofiran | November 30, 2009

16 Azar (Dec 6 1953-2009): Students’ Day


ANNOUNCEMENT: Live from Iran: coverage of 16 Azar can be found at Revolutionary Road (

ANNOUNCEMENT: 16 Azar Event in Washington DC: Dec 6, 3-6pm Georgetown University, St Mary’s Hall rm #107 Update: This event was well-attended, with the lecture hall filled to capacity (~300+ people). The collaborative of university students’ organizations that worked to produce this event did impressive, well-organized work. The event opened with a photo presentation of people all over the world holding signs declaring support for the freedom of people in Iran; this was set to a recording of Stand By Me, by Andy Madadian and Jon Bon Jovi. There were several excellent speakers, and several artistic contributions in the form of live music as well as pictorial slideshows set to a recording of Yare Dabestani.

April 1980: Hezbollah gangs and Basijis attack Tehran University students during the Regime’s “Cultural Revolution” while students resist inside the University.

16 Ãzar is a day of celebration: a day of celebrating the precious memory of Iranian students: all those fallen, jailed, beaten and brutalized, yet who, in the darkest nights of the brutality and oppression, kept alive the torch of hope and conviction for a better world.

16 Ãzar is: The day of renewal of our promise to our children, that they may live in a society worthy of human beings!

16 Ãzar is: The day of calling for the liberation of women, for the liberation of society!

16 Ãzar is: The day for the manifestation of one planet and one race – the human race!

16 Ãzar is: The day of people’s rage against oppression and criminal regimes!

16 Ãzar is: The day of society’s indictment against tyranny.

16 Ãzar is: The day of a humane revolution for a humane society and a Humane Republic.

16 Ãzar is: The day of strengthening our unbreakable commitment to the eradication of poverty, misery and human suffering.

16 Ãzar is: Resistance against the nightmare of the Islamic Republic and all oppressors of Iranian people.

21 April 1981: This is a demonstration organized by Paykar Organization (one of the most radical left organizations at the time in Iran) in annual memorial of the crushing of the students’ movement a year earlier. They are going towards Revolution Square. The slogan on the banner implies “Shame and Disgust on all factions of Islamic Republic.” As the picture shows, both sides of the street were full with demonstrators. The demonstration was formed without any call, just to prevent an attack from Hezbollah. Hezbollah were shocked and could not prevent the demonstration.

April 1981: This is another picture from the memorial demonstration, a year after the student massacre, on April 1981 in front of the Tehran University. This is just a few minutes after a grenade was thrown into the middle of the demonstration. One of the demonstrators is showing his bloody hand to people to expose the regime’s crime. The demonstration continued for two days without stop toward Hezar Taxtexabi hospital till they could free all wounded taken to that hospital.

Violence against girls and women is unacceptable in any society in today’s world. Yet violence against girls and women is epidemic in our societies. November 25 marks the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. We at Voices of Children in Iran recognize this day as important because children who are exposed to violence in the home are at higher risk of experiencing poor outcomes than their unexposed peers. They are also at significantly higher risk for future violence themselves: girls whose mother was abused by their fathers are more likely to be abused when they enter into their own relationships as adults. Similarly, boys whose mother was abused are more likely to become perpetrators of spousal violence as adults.

As is clear from the figure below, domestic violence is epidemic in our world, and is particularly prevalent in Iran: 66 percent of Iranian women report having ever experienced an episode of spousal violence. We take the opportunity today to join with the rest of the world to say no to violence against girls and women.

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Source of data for Iran domestic violence statistics: Ghazi Tabatabai M, Mohsen Tabrizi AR, Marjai SH. [Studies on domestic violence against women.] Tehran: Office of Public Affairs, Ministry of Interior. Center of Women and Family Affairs, Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran; 2004. Persian.

Additional useful reading: Domestic violence against single and married women in Iranian society

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

On 20 December 1993 the General Assembly adopted Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (A/RES/48/104).

Posted by: childrenofiran | October 16, 2009

November 20: Universal Children’s Day

On November 20, the world celebrates Universal Children’s Day, observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It is a day of activity devoted to promoting the welfare of children around the world.

Universal Children’s Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 1954; on this day in 1989, the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally-binding international instrument that incorporates the full range of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social.

In 2009, we celebrate Universal Children’s Day with special attention given to the children of Iran. In the wake of the June 12 2009 elections, the world’s attention was drawn to the state-sponsored violence extant in Iran.  While media focus remains on such issues as voter fraud and nuclear proliferation, the human rights issues as regards the children of Iran are often ignored. It is our intent to shed some light on the concerns surrounding the plight of many Iranian children.

As a person who grew up in Iran, I have to tell you that the children’s situation is the worst it could be if you consider the national revenue from its supposed-to-be nationalized resources.
Cyrus S, an Iranian in New York

We present the situation of children in Iran using both narrative and statistical methods.  We adhere to international standards in our approach by focusing on the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Islamic Republic of Iran signed the legally-binding CRC on 5 September 1991 and ratified it on 13 July 1994.

The photo in our header was taken by Hodjatolah Sepahvand and provided courtesy of Yari