The United Nations children’s agency issued a statement Sunday condemning "the violence and abuse that have reportedly claimed the lives of over 50 children and injured many more during the public unrest in Iran."
The agency said it is "deeply concerned about continued raids and searches conducted in some schools" and said that "schools must always be safe places for children."
UNICEF reported it has "directly communicated our concerns to the authorities in Iran since the first cases of child casualties occurred in response to the protests." Some human rights organizations report that as many as 63 children have been killed in the protests.
Iran is party to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the global advocacy group for children said in a statement that leaders in the country have "an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of children to life, privacy, freedom of thought and peaceful assembly."
UNICEF, which is a Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, urged Iran "to respect the rights of all children to peaceful assembly as a fundamental guarantee — no matter who they are or where they are … Children and adolescents must be protected from all forms of harm that risk not only their lives and freedom, but also their mental and physical health."
"Iran is fortunate to have a young population of children and adolescents who are a great resource for the country, now and in the future," UNICEF said. "Their needs, aspirations and wellbeing must be a priority under all circumstances." (KB/VOA)