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Iran and the Universality of Human Rights

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mehdi Zakerian, Associate Professor, Islamic Azad University, Sciences and Research Branch

Abstract

A review of the events of the past decade and today’s demands of the international community demonstrates how the expansion, inclusiveness and universality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations Human Rights Covenants serve the common interests of all United Nations member states and nations. Moreover, the consensus of the international community on a series of rules such as the ban on torture and slavery, right to life, freedom of expression and alike - collectively known as fundamental rules of human rights - is inviolable. These two presumptions influence the institutionalization of human rights norms and support for human rights in every corner of the world, including Iran. For this purpose, which strategy can Iran make use of in the process of the universalization of human rights? While many international relations and international law scholars claim that the universality of human rights is a bridge connecting security and progress, putting aside this claim, we propose an answer to the key question of what Iran’s optimum strategy towards the universality of human rights should be. This research argues that since every country’s culture and native, age-old cultural, religious and national beliefs possess relative grounds of inclusiveness and universality, Iran’s optimum strategy should be to seek a cross-cultural character of the fundamental rules of human rights. The author assesses the formation of human rights treaties and Iran’s positions, cultural distinctions and types of universalities. Moreover, this study reviews the reservations about, and particular interpretations of human rights as well as theoretical and academic debates concerning the universality of human rights. Lastly, the author discusses cultural relativism and the impact of the cross-cultural character of the fundamental rules of human rights on compromise between relativism and universality of human rights.

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Keywords: Iran, Universality, Human Rights, Cross-Cultural, Strategy

Source: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
http://www.isrjournals.ir/

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