Equality, Communication, Cooperation and the Harmonious World -- by Mirzamani
In discussing equality as one of the main and underlying elements of human rights concepts, first we have to deal with justice concept as the infrastructure of equality, there after we could define equality based on the definition and concept of justice.
In consideration of different viewpoints and thoughts of contemporary western scholars in politics and justice, two scholars have the most influence on western societies: Aristotle and his viewpoints in ethics, politics and justice, and John Locke and his thoughts about individual that summarizes natural rights, even the most natural ones, in such a way that states independence and dominance of the individual over his property, adding that individuals can decide upon their interests and evaluate their decision thereafter.
Considering Aristotle's thoughts, two exclusive peculiarities could be shown: one is blossoming of human essence and attainment to prosperity(which are among the teachings of Aristotle's professor, Socrates.)
The other one is a comprehensive moral system which considers justice in the social field as a highly valuable virtue.
It should be admitted that according to Aristotelian vision there seems to be a kind of inequality; some human beings could be slaves and some others could be lords. Aristotle explains that slaves should work and lords should govern.
John Locke insists on the equality of human beings, but assumes social classes as natural and just.
As Aristotle believes in virtues and vices, according to the nature of human beings, modern era thoughts purified Aristotlelian theories of some of the values and virtues. This happens because secular, liberal-democratic thoughts do not bear such values and consider the least moral obligations as sufficient.
In fact, among all moral thoughts and descriptions, liberalism considers faithfulness very important and acts accordingly in social contracts.
To present the concept of a fair and/or a fair contract based on the principles of Theory of Contract, the role of these two famous western philosophers, Aristotle and Locke, would become clear. The followers of the Locke's theory consider safeguarding the interest as the basis of fair treaty and fair contract and, in a more clear sense; they put forward the Theory of Mutual Interest. According to this theory individual haave the right to follow and safeguard their interest. The justness of the treaty and contract lies in the fact that the two parties to this treaty feel that they have guaranteed their interest in the best possible manner. But followers of Aristotle deduce another concept out of justice, they consider justice in a moral atmosphere, and they talk of a justice that is based on "impartiality", that is to say regardless of the interests of the individual himself, from the impartiality stance, he would reach to the conclusion that his action is fair. We could refers to the views of most recent scholars such as Jhon Rowel, in his valuable book entitled "Theory of Justice" he introduces very important subjects of human rights based on the justice and equality1.In fact ,he is one of followers of Impartiality Theory in the question of social justice. The other western scholar who is the source of Mutual Interest Theory is Mr. David Goiter. In this classification those who follow Impartiality Theory are being considered scholars of ethics in politics and those who follow the Theory of Mutual Interest are being considered the scholars of interest-oriented theory.
To understand the concept of equality in society, basically, we should invoke to the expansion of those concept, in fact, this equality should be applied among the overall fabric of society, women and men. Secondly, the subject of different social classes in the thoughts of John Locke and the justification of slave and slavery and mastery and land lordly in the theory of Aristotle should be examined. These two theories mostly justify some of the authoritarian systems in the era of these two scholars. What is mentioned in the religious school of thoughts and teachings is the existence of various clans, tirbe, and nations not for the authority of some over others or for the abuse of each other but the emphasis is on the recognition and knowledge and acquaintance with each other. Actually, the very reasons behind the composure of societies by various clans, minorities, and nations are knowledge and recognition which are the bases of understanding and solidarity.
The introduction of the important subject of equality and human rights based on equality in the Constitution of Iran dates back to a century ago. The rights of people on equality are contained in the addendum of the Constitution of the constitutional (Mashrooteh) government of a hundred years ago. It reads:
Article 8: All peoples of the country shall equal rights before public law.
But, by virtue of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Section III, Nation Rights, Article 19 puts forward: The people of Iran, of whatever tribe and clan, shall enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language and the like shall not be a privilege.
Article20: All members of nation, both men and women, shall receive equal protection of law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social and cultural rights with due observance of the principles of Islam.
These principles inspired by the religious teachings put emphasis on one of the most essential principles of human rights: Equality.
No nation has superiority over the other, not even an individual has superiority over the other, and all peoples are created equalle. What makes people superior? It seems that there are two approaches in this regard: A. Superiority of society B. Superiority of individual.
A. Superioprity of society: Those specialities by which the society consider itself superior are as follows:
1. Race: some of the races consider themselves as superior, therefore, they deprive some other races, e.g. Black race, from those rights which they themselves obviously enjoy. In these societies not to mention the violation of civil rights in various dimensions, the marriage of the individuals of one race with the others is not accepted. Most of the social positions shall not be occupied by these race and the former race considers a preemptive right for it to enjoy the social privileges.
2. Nation: there are some nations who consider themselves and their countries superior than the others.
3. City dwelling: Those who live in urban areas consider themselves superior than those in rural areas.
B. Superiority of individual: This may be investigated in the following areas:
1. Linage and dynasty;
According to the school of Islam, all these imagined superiorities are vein.
The equality element should be accompanied by element of proportion so that the real sense of harmony could be drawn. The concept of nothing more than harmony. Therefore, justice means to put everything in its own place that is implied in the meaning of harmony. However, according to religious thoughts only moral virtues that are the descriptions of human dignity are emphasized as significant, and aristocratic systems are negated. Although Aristotle, to some extent, considers moral virtues and vices; religious and divinely thoughts consider these concepts maximally, contrary to the liberal democratic school of thought. The latter minimum approach has led the modern world to a point of social abnormalities due to the extremism of law, for example, in our age if something terrible happens to a person in the crowded streets of big cities of liberal countries no one in the population pays a heed .It should be acknowledged that under all treaties, instruments and charters introduced to date on equality , two suggestions spring in mind :A. Equality before law B. Equality in dignity and rights.3
A. Equality before law : All human beings are considered equally before law . They shall be under the protection of law without any discrimination. This equality is contained in the article 7 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. There are similar points in article 2 and 33 of the American Human Rights Declaration, Article 14 (1) and 26 of the International Political and Civil Rights Covenant , Article 3(1) and 3 (2) of African Charter of Human Rights .The three fundamental points in common in these instruments are : 1.Equality of human beings before law . 2. Equal protection by law 3. Equality protection of all human beings against discrimination 4.
B. Equality in dignity and rights : The first article of the UN Declaration on Human Rights stipulates that all people of the world are born freely and they are equal in terms of dignity and rights¨A. All people of the world have wisdom and conscience and should treat each other observing brother hood moral.5
The Third Generation of Human Rights Concepts
The legal concepts of equality, cooperation ,and communication are the necessary principles of international relation in the third generation .Cooperation principle, that is the same as solidarity principle, is one of the most important principles introduced in the theory of generation.
In fact , the independence principle in the second generation and dependence principle in the first generation were replaced by the cooperation principle .One of the important aspects of Theory of Generation is its disagreement with the absolute independence of states ,and efforts are made to bind these phenomena with a series of legal rules on the cooperation among the nations of the world .Pascal Flure believes that "seclusion policy would gradually be replaced by cooperation because both states while being independent , recognize the necessity of cooperation with other states". The theory of independence of states is faced with challenges and developments of human societies in various fields and invasion of destructive phenomena have made a mutual dependence between states. Karl Vasak (1979) defines human rights according to its generation. In this theory of generation ,he considers civil and political rights belonged to the first generation ,economic ,social and cultural rights belonged to the second generation, and human rights as solidarity rights to the third generation aimed at observing human rights for the exalt and progress of all people. Vasak firmly believes in the comprehensiveness of human rights inspired by the slogans of France Revolution: Liberty, equality and brotherhood . These concepts have led him to present new generation of human
Right, such as right to peace, right to living, right to environment, right to communication ,etc.6
As to the Theory of Generation the following points should be borne in mind:
1. To concretely reintroduce the nature of these rights;
2. Not to forget the economic, social and cultural rights;
3. Not to sacrifice the individual rights to the benefit of crowd;
4. To identify these rights as human rights;
5. To consider the relativism theories and geographical, local and national characteristic in human rights7.
In its recently made declaration ,the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has explicitly put forward the legal concepts related to the Theory of Generations through it has already been contained generally in the United Nations Charter. Concept such as peace , security, human rights and development were introduced. It should be mentioned that it was for the first time that development was introduced as one of the human rights. To achieve to these exalted aims, a new approach is required to be in line with the benefits of human beings and to avoid dual policy and politicization. in other words, without due regards to the benefits of the deprived and poverty-stricken countries, the gap between theories and action plan would become much more widened .
The executive aspect of the concepts of equality, communication and cooperation is of importance. The equality principle that has been introduced in theory has never been applied among states in practice. The application of capitulation systems as a kind of inequality imposed on the relations of the West with other countries is an example.
The equality of small and big states in terms of international law should be shown in practice, as it is the case for the equality of individuals. Contradiction of equality in theory with inequality of practice is a problem in the international legal system.
When we speak of communication concept we have to consider the right to information that is one of the fundamental human rights and deeply related with the intrinsic dignity of human beings.
Article 19 of the UN declaration on human rights describes information as a factor of democracy.8
A. Action Plan of Judicial Justice
Undoubtedly materialization of a balanced (harmonious) international society and social justice requires the due administration of (judicial) justice. The application of these principle as presented in the action plan may, to some extent, help the materialization of judicial justice. Here the administration of justice is important not the mere settlement of disputes. The settlement of disputes does not guarantee the administration of social justice.
Nowadays, unfortunately, in most of the international disputes the judicial proceedings is to settle the dispute not to administer the justice. Therefore, all the charters, covenant, and conventions on human rights have been ratified after the World War I and II.
Today, the best guarantee and sanction for the human rights charters and conventions is the administration of judicial justice. Accordingly we at first would face with the statement of judicial justice.9
B. What is the mission of this statement?
The administration of judicial justice is its most important mission ,to create a harmonious world based on equality ,cooperation and solidarity .There is a mutual and direct relationship between administration of judicial justice and the system of democratic sates based upon good governance.
1. One of the most important grounds for administering the judicial justice is the strengthening of the rule of law. In fact, we have ample of declarations, resolutions, and charters on human rights in addition to the civil and criminal codes enacted by the parliaments ,but they are not applied properly .
2. The easy access of all people to justice that is one of the important principles of civil rights should be improved.
What are the aims specified for materialization of judicial justice? How could the certain mission be attained?
--To establish social equality and judicial justice the disputes should be settled within the framework of judicial justice the disputes with a reasonable speed;
--To administer the justice effectively;
--To preserve the public trust and confidence.
E. Judicial Justice model
The most important element wit regard to administering the justice and equality is the criminal justice policy which protects the public in general. In our modern world in parallel with extra ordinary developments in science, new offences emerge such as organized crime, drug-related crime, money laundering, terrorism, etc. Therefore the existence of relevant laws and regulations aimed at protecting the public may be led to the establishment of equality and justice in society.
The other issue to be dealt with is juvenile justice. Today , in this world ,one may not evaluate all the peoples at one perspective; the issues of judicial justice are now more specialized .The problems of the children and the youth should be assessed from their certain standpoint and there upon the judicial justice be applied.
--Juvenile justice according to restorative justice;
--Civil judicial justice;
--Family justice to protect family obligations;
--Arbitration (strengthening the quasi-judicial institutions such as disputes settlement council).
F. The Values
The values implied in this process are as follows:
1 Accessibility of justice;
2 Expeditiousness of judicial proceeding;
3 Equality before law;
4 Equality of dignity and rights based on fairness and integrity;
5 Independence and accountability;
6 Public confidence and trust in the judicial system.
In conclusion, the principles that may, to a great extent, guarantee the proper administration of judicial justice could be classified as follows:
1 Magistrates, prosecutors, and judges subscribe to the principle of judiciary in their oath of office and allegiance;
2 Magistrates, prosecutors, and judges should faithfully discharge their judicial duties;
3 Magistrates , prosecutors and judges should do right to all people based on equality before law and equality of dignity and right of people ;
4 The judicial authorities should discharge their duties based on the civil and criminal codes as contained in the Constitution and those of international law;
5 The judicial authorities should discharge their duties powerfully without fear or favor.
The international law and international society attach great importance to the human rights questions .It is shown when elaborated and evaluated as public laws .The theory of solidarity rights which contains various human rights is included in the third generation of human rights .This doctrine exposes a kind of paradoxical explanation. As to the principle of universality of human rights there seems to be some problems, the public laws and the rights of solidarity are not assumed as human rights perhaps they should be considered as responsibility. On the other hand, to protect and promote human rights we practically should put emphasis on the equality and mutual respect rather than a dual standard policy and politicization. We should recognize the specific conditions of various countries and actively collaborate with different international organizations involved in human rights affairs, or at least promote bilateral human rights dialog .According to our thoughts, administering justice is of paramount importance especially the role of government is highly emphasized rather than that of individuals. Moreover, equality and justice should be considered in all areas of human being activities, public or private, such as economic, social, political and cultural affairs. In this way ,we may strengthen the rule of law and promote administration of justice by applying the governing law and regulations. Finally, in order to establish a so called harmonious world, all human rights concepts should be guaranteed with due regard to local, regional and international conditions10.
1. Rawls theory of justice is one the most important theory in contemporary philosophy. He considers justice as "the first attitude of social institutions" and the human rights as one of the aims of justice, the human rights fields without the Rawls' justice theory is nonsense.
Rawls, John," theory of justice", 1971.
3. Holy Quran,49:13
4. Aghai, Bahman, "a terminology of human rights", 1996
5. Sieghart, Paul, "the international law of human rights", oxford 1995
6. Conde, Victor, "three generations of Human Rights"
7. Shestack J.J, "the philosophic foundation of human rights", 1998
8. The UN Declaration on Human Rights, 1948
9. Howard, Human Rights and the Search for Community, 1995
10. Finally, the rights of development is not a new right, it emerged form the civil, social and economic rights, the human rights scholars call it as the right to tights.
Cloud E, "Welchi Human Rights as a problem in contemporary Africa", 1984
Donnelly, Jack, "Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice"1989