Friday, May 15, 2009

Environment and Human Rights

Shahid Beheshti University ( which is actually the college where I completed my bachelors degree) now has a UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy. They hosted, during the past two days,an international conference on Environment and Human Rights. The Conference was attended by academics and experts from all continents. Two days of deliberations on the nexus between environment and human rights had resulted in a significant wealth of academic articles on the matter. I spoke, after the UNEP representative Bakary Kante and the spokesperson of the Judiciary, Dr. Jamshidi, in the closing ceremony yesterday afternoon. As someone who has had an 8 year experience in dealing with the implementation of environmental law, I told them we need to find out why, at the global level, most legislation has not been translated into action. World leaders present attractive rhetoric about sustainable development, but it seems that they do not perform well in practice and implementation.

I continued saying that we need to understand whether the weak compliance of governments is a result of the flawed worldviews of their leaders or is it due to a lack of ethical commitment. Is it because they do not consider environmental rights to be an integral aspect of human rights ? Or is it due to the arrogant and selfish attitude that world leaders have taken against nature? Divine religions particularly Islam provide not only a philosophical explanation for environmental rights but also an ethical framework in which governments should be held accountable. I concluded by saying that environmental rights are an undeniable and indivisible aspect of human rights.
I was invited to give the gifts to the speakers and join the group photo at the end of the session. You can find details on speakers and the program here :


Black Chador said...

I saw your picture with half of Black Chador and I have to say, you looked wonderful. Now if you could just take this whole Arabic thing off it would be great.
Black Chador was enforced on Iranian women by Arab Shia and it is not part of Persian culture. Persian women did practice Hejab by covering their hair with color scarf before Arab invasion.

Black Chador said...

eWhen it comes to credentials in Iran's Islamic Republic, Zahra Eshraghi's are cast in gold. Yet she feels trapped by her family history and hates wearing the black veil. (ELAINE SCIOLINO, April 2, 2003, NY Times)
When it comes to credentials in Iran's Islamic Republic, Zahra Eshraghi's are cast in gold.
Her grandfather was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the cleric who overthrew a king and led a revolution in the name of Islam. Her husband's brother is the reformist president, Mohammad Khatami. And her husband, Mohammad Reza Khatami, is the head of the reformist wing of Parliament.
In a society where women can derive enormous power from the men in their lives, those three pillars give Ms. Eshraghi enormous standing. Yet the 39-year-old government official and mother of two has a confession to make.
"I'm sorry to say that the chador was forced on women," she said over tea and cakes in her upscale apartment decorated in ornate furniture in northern Tehran. "Forced — in government buildings, in the school my daughter attends. This garment that was traditional Iranian dress was turned into a symbol of revolution. People have lost their respect for it. I only wear it because of my family status."