January 14, 2013

Human Right between Islam and the West : Part 1

                                    بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

With regard to human rights in the West as a universal principle, we are going to introduce their background and philosophy from a Western perspective through a Western writer. I will interfere with only some short and limited comments to draw attention to some useful points in comparison. This writer is called Asberon Eide, director and founder of the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights at Oslo University. He says about the initiative and crystallization of the declaration:

The first initiative to make human rights a universal principle was by the then American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his letter to the American Congress in January 1941. His initiative was amazing due to the comprehensive aspect he gave to human freedoms and due to his insistence on that these freedoms have to be enjoyed with all over the world. He said, “In the coming days, which we work to make safe, we are looking forward to a world founded on four human freedoms: first, freedom of speech everywhere; second, freedom of everyone  to worship God in his own way, anywhere in the world; third, freedom “to want”, which means– if translated into universal concepts- understanding and economic intelligence that secures for each country  a healthy and peaceful life for its population and everywhere in the world; fourth, freedom from fear which means- if translated into universal concepts- to reduce arms across the world to the degree and extent that no country will be able to commit transgression against any neighboring country anywhere in the world.”
He also said,

“This is not a vision for thousand years away, it is a defined basis for a world that we can achieve for ourselves in our age and our generation.”

Then there was the Atlantic Declaration in August 1941 by President Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who reiterated the same commitments after few months. In the 1st of January 1942 representatives of the governments of many countries in the East and the West met in Washington to approve the UN Declaration. As the Allays in the Word War II, their goal was to decide the goals they were fighting for. The governments represented in the meeting declared that the goal of gaining victory over their enemy was to defend life, freedom, independence, and religious freedom as well as to preserve human rights and justice in their lands and in others’ lands.

In 1942 an international group of researchers and diplomats convened at an invitation from the American Institute of Law, which is a private institution in the United States specialized in collecting and making laws, to develop a formula for a possible declaration or a memorandum for international human rights. The cultures represented in this group were the American, the Arabic, the British, the Canadian, the Chinese, the French, the Nazi German, the Italian, the Latin American, the Polish, the Russian, and the Spanish. The group finished the program of the human rights memorandum in 1944, but it did nothing more at that time.

This memorandum was the basic inspiration when the UN Human Rights Department headed by the Canadian John Humphrey prepared the first project of the International Declaration in 1947. Many other initiatives followed until the end of the World War II. One was presented by a Latin American country as a follow-up to an international conference held in Mitchaboltpk in Mexico early in 1945 between the two Americans over the problems of war and peace.

When the founding conference was held in San Francisco in 1945, many of the Latin American countries exercised pressure so that the Charter of the UN itself should include a memorandum on human rights. Of these memorandums was the one prepared by the group assembled by the American Institute of Law and presented by the representative of Panama.

It was decided then that the charter should include a statement concerning establishing a human rights committee and that this committee should undertake the task of developing a draft for the international standards in the field of human rights.

Article (55) H from the charter states that the UN will enhance and monitor the international respect for human rights as well as the fundamental freedoms for all without distinction or discrimination on racial, sexual, linguistic or religious basis. In article (56) all the member countries pledged to exert joint or individual efforts to cooperate with the UN as determined in article (55).

The charter of the UN is an international treaty by which all UN member countries have by law to support respecting and implementing human rights and fundamental freedoms without any distinction or discrimination.


Source :
- Prof Tariq Ramadan ( Lectute of University Oxford )
- Dr Syakh Abdallah bin Bayyah ( Lecture of Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia )
- UN Human Right Department.
- Wikipedia.