April 8, 2009
For a PDF version of this speech, please click here.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
First of all I would like to thank UNPO and in particular Maggie for providing us with such a platform and opportunity and thank you all for giving your valuable time to be here today.
The human right is not a new phenomenon and it is not a western creation as some people try to make it. The ideas and human rights can be traced back to Greek and Persians.
For example one can mention Cyrus’s charter of human rights after invasion of Babylon. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle argued the existence of natural right. Aristotle is credited with being the father of natural law. Jean‐Jacques Rousseau suggested the existence of a hypothetical social contract where a group of free individuals agree for the sake of the common good to form institutions to govern themselves. This echoed the earlier postulation by Thomas Hobbs that there is a contract between the government and the governed. John Locke argued that a failure of the government to secure rights is a failure which justifies the removal of the government.
Much of modern human rights law and interpretations of human rights can be traced to the 1688 Germantown Quaker petition against slavery, the British Bill of Rights and the two major revolutions that occurred during the 18th century in the United States and in France. The Aspiration for creation of human rights organization was to restore or protect "basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled." the rights and freedoms which have come to be commonly known as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and liberty and pursuit of happiness, freedom of expression, and equality before the law of a country or a society in general; social, cultural and economic rights, including but not limited to right to participate in cultural practice and development, the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education and right to assembly.
These aspirations are expressed in great eloquence in Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights where it says; “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 brotherhood”.
With this declaration a new hope was born to eliminate the human suffering at the hands of few and irresponsible states and new responsibilities toward human dignity were to be promoted. Ladies and Gentlemen:
Iran is a diverse nation, as colorful as a rainbow, unfortunately this diversity in the country is dominated by Islamic ideology and pan farsism, nationalistic ideologies.
Iran is a like a patchwork quilt made up of many nations held together by historic ties. By all accounts Iran is a multi‐national country with each nation having its own language, culture, history and they yearn for their basic human rights and aspirations for a better and a dignified life. All of these nations rights have been trampled on by the current regime. Apart from the Persians none of the other nations are allowed to read and write in their own languages despite the fact the Islamic Republic’s own constitution Article 15 provides for these basic rights. Article 15 of the Iran constitution, states that the "Official language (of Iran). is Farsi.[and]. the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Farsi. ." Despite the constitutional guarantees these basic rights are denied.
The human rights in general and minorities’ right in particular have been grossly violated by the Islamic regime of Iran. Iranian religious government and dictatorial regimes all over the world see western democracy and values as the biggest threat to their survival, when pressed by international community to observe their citizen’s basic human rights they try to use religion or culture and other absurd and fabricated excuses for their gross abuse of their citizen’s basic human rights. Ladies and Gentlemen; It is in everyone’s interest to fight for the protection of every man, woman and child’s regardless of their race, religion, gender, colour or sexual orientation. By creating the United Nations we have provided ourselves with the structure and organization to deal with the tasks at hand, but having the organization and know how is not enough. We need to take further steps by providing the UN with the right tools and empower it to take an active role in supervision, management, and implementation. As it stands we have created a giant scarecrow and are trying to scare off non‐complying members with resolution after resolution.
Some Member states, in spite of ratifying the universal declaration of human rights are not willing parties when it comes to upholding the basic rights of their citizens. Human rights can only be achieved and safeguarded in a democratic society. As long as we tolerate and try to negotiate with dictators of any creed or back ground it will be impossible to protect the basic human rights of the citizens of those countries. In recent years the United Nations has taken great steps to ensure the members states follow through their promises to promote human rights such as the establishment of a new Human Rights Council in March of 2006. The European Union has been one of the strongest proponents for meaningful engagement on human rights issues, since the United Nations creation.
The EU has been in the forefront of the promotion of human rights and democracy, both in their own countries and around the world. The United Nations was founded on the principle that nations must cooperate with each other to alleviate human suffering. The United Nations Human Rights Council has achieved its relative goals in many countries by being part of UN’s larger effort to maintain peace around the world and those could be summarized as maintaining peace and security, making peace, promoting democracy, promoting development, promoting human rights, promoting self‐determination and independence, preventing nuclear proliferation, strengthening international laws, handing down judicial settlements of major international disputes, ending apartheid in South Africa, providing humanitarian aid to victims of conflict, alleviating chronic hunger and rural poverty in developing countries, promoting women's right, as well as protecting the environment ‐ the list goes on, which are all the foundations for promoting the human rights around the world.
The UN’s achievements paved the way for improving human living conditions and uplifting the human spirit, hope and living standards in many parts of the world. Protection of human rights cannot be achieved without maintaining peace and security in the world, human rights cannot be improved and protected without making peace and promoting democracy, human rights cannot be protected without promoting and achieving the self determination in Iran
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I focus on Iran’s human rights violations as Iran is on the top of the list for gross violation of human rights and has the second highest executions rate in the world.
As long as some member states put trade and self interest above everything else we will never resolve the human rights violations and abuses in countries like Iran. For instance Germany is Iran’s biggest business partner among the European countries and the second biggest business partner after the South Korea, therefore Germany will not risk its business interests to promote Iran’s human rights.
The United Kingdom is very lenient on Iran’s human rights violations and France before the election of President Sarkozy did not even mention Iranian human rights violations. President Sarkozy is vocal against Iranian misdeeds but not about human rights violations, instead he is vocal about the Iran’s Uranium enrichment to improve its relation with U.S.A. The Iranian Human rights protection, promotion and improvement has not been the priority for EU members but I would like to emphasize that without democracy and accountability, transparency and respect for human rights in Iran, there is no prospect for peace in the region.
In my opinion human rights should be part of school curriculum, and it should be part of the civil servant’s, the armed forces and the police’s training. This will encourage a civil society to be established. We believe the only solution for countries like Iran is a decentralized form of government where the power sharing is based on federal system and acceptance of parallel local governments.