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DIFFERENT RULES FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE
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The concerns of human rights advocates increase when they observe that international human rights laws are breached not only by their recognized opponents under the pretext of cultural relativity, but that these principles are also violated in Western democracies, in other words, countries which were themselves among the initial codifiers of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is in this framework that, for months, hundreds of individuals who were arrested in the course of military conflicts have been imprisoned in Guantanamo, without the benefit of the rights stipulated under the international Geneva conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the [United Nations] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Moreover, a question which millions of citizens in the international civil society have been asking themselves for the past few years, particularly in recent months, and continue to ask, is this: why is it that some decisions and resolutions of the UN security council are binding, while some other resolutions of the council have no binding force' Why is it that in the past 35 years, dozens of UN resolutions concerning the occupation of the Palestinian territories by...Israel have not been implemented promptly, yet, in the past 12 years, the state and people of Iraq, once on the recommendation of the security council, and the second time, in spite of security council opposition, were subjected to attack, military assault, economic sanctions, and, ultimately, military occupation'

I am an Iranian. A descendent of Cyrus the Great. The very emperor who proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that “...he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it. And [he] promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all”. The charter of Cyrus the Great is one of the most important documents that should be studied in the history of human rights. I am a Muslim. In the Quran, the Prophet of Islam has been cited as saying: “Thou shalt believe in thine faith and I in my religion”. That same... book sees the mission of all prophets as that of inviting all human beings to uphold justice. Since the advent of Islam, too, Iran’s civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war. The luminaries of Iranian literature, in particular our Gnostic literature, from Hafiz, Mowlavi [better known in the West as Rumi] and Attar to Saadi, Sanaei, Naser Khosrow and Nezami, are emissaries of this humanitarian culture. Their message manifests itself in this poem by Saadi: “The sons of Adam are limbs of one another/ Having been created of one essence./ When the calamity of time afflicts one limb/ The other limbs cannot remain at rest.” The people of Iran have been battling against consecutive conflicts between tradition and modernity for over 100 years. By resorting to ancient traditions, some have tried and are trying to see the world through the eyes of their predecessors and to deal with the problems and difficulties of the existing world by virtue of the values of the ancients.

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