Back in March I wrote about Nazanin Afshin-Jan, a campaigner I met at a human rights conference in Taiwan who focused a lot of her efforts on trying to bring about an end to the Iranian government’s practice of allowing the execution of children.
Recent news reports suggest the efforts of Nazanin and other human rights campaigners in this area may have born some fruit, with this report quoting an Iranian official that “a directive was issued commuting death sentences for offenders under 18 to life in jail.” This report in the International Herald Tribune, while also indicating progress, sounds slightly less definitive about the prospects of there being a total end to child executions in Iran.
This looks like a good example of international pressure by non-government organisations helping to being about a positive change by a government – although the pressure will need to be maintained to make sure the Iranian announcement is followed through with action.
There is slow progress being made on reducing the use of the death penalty around the world. It will take a long time yet, but every potential success should be acknowledged and celebrated.