U.N. Charter of Human Rights

The rules laid down by Ali regarding human rights appear to be better and more useful as compared with the declaration made by the U.N. on the subject.

The readers have now fully grasped the human rights as enunciated by Ali. It, however, appears necessary to recapitulate them in this chapter and to study their different aspects keeping their gist in view.

We have endeavoured to understand properly Ali's views and ideas regarding special and common rights in the light of his various testaments, letters and orders sent by him to his governors and other officers and have dealt with them in separate chapters and have tried our best to explain them as clearly as possible. Hence it should be quite easy for a reader to get fully acquainted with rules and regulations set forth by Ali regarding human rights by referring to the relevant chapters.

In order to present the views and beliefs of Ali in a more prominent manner and to find out in a better and clearer way with what celestial power these instructions were issued by him, we propose to mention here some important contents of the charter of the U.N. and the declaration of human rights which have been endorsed by the representatives of all nations. If there is any difference between the rules laid down by Ali and the U.N. charter it will be possible for the readers to realize it and also to find out the reason why it is so.

We may say briefly that from the point of view of their purport there is no difference between the rules laid down by Ali regarding human rights and the charter of the United Nations. If any minor difference is observed, apparently it is due to changes which have taken place in the terminology during the course of time, and is not basic or in principle.

There is no chapter in the charter of the U.N. which is not running parallel to the rules laid down by Ali. In fact better and more useful things are found in the instructions given by him.

In my opinion the difference between the two sets of rules is due to the following four reasons:

Firstly the charter of the United Nations was drafted by thousands of intellectuals belonging to almost all the countries of the world whereas the Alavi rules were enunciated by only one person viz. Ali son of Abu Talib.

Secondly Ali arrived in this world fourteen hundred years ago.

Thirdly those who drafted the U.N. charter or in fact collected the requisite material for it indulged in too much extravagant talk and self-praise and boasted that world was indebted to them on this account. On the contrary Ali showed humility before God and was modest before the people. He did not seek greatness or superiority. He always prayed to God and also wished the people that his acts of commissions and omissions might be overlooked.

The fourth reason for the difference which is more important than the three enumerated above is that many nations, out of those which participated in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and endorsed it, violated this declaration and started armed conflicts to nullify and destroy it, but wherever Ali placed his foot, and whenever he said anything, or unsheathed his sword, he did so to destroy tyranny and oppression and leveled the ground to march forward on the path of truth and justice. So much so that he met his martyrdom in defence of human rights, although during his lifetime he had already been martyred thousands of times.

We now give below the contents of the largest chapter of the U.N. charter which deals with human rights. It has been compiled by a French writer Barbabech, and translated by Muhammad Mandoor in Arabic and published by the U.A.R (United Arab Republic).

1. Human beings are equal to one another in the matter of honour and rights. They have been created with the power of reflection and competence to distinguish between good and evil. Hence all of them should behave with one another like brothers.

2. Every human being should enjoy all his rights and the liberties provided for in this charter. No discrimination should be made between them on account of difference in race, colour, tongue, faith, political views, country, social principles, affluence, indigence, pedigree and family.

3. The rights mentioned in this charter are also available to the citizens of those countries as well as to the citizens of the countries whose governments are subordinate to other governments. Hence the citizens of these regions are equal to the residents of independent countries.

4. Every person is entitled to possess means of living and to lead his life in security and peace.

5. Slavery is not permissible for mankind. Slavery and dealing in slaves is prohibited in all circumstances.

6. It is not permissible to hurt or oppress human beings. It is unlawful to coerce them unnecessarily. Anything which amounts to aspersion on another's character or reputation is prohibited.

7. Every person has a right that his legal position should be acknowledged in whichever country he may be.

8. All human beings are equal before law. Every person is entitled to seek assistance of law. There is no difference between human beings. Everyone has a right to oppose the discrimination which infringes the contents of this charter.

9. Every person has right to lodge a complaint before a regular court which is established to take decisions about rights and violations of the law in force.

10. None can be arrested, imprisoned and exiled from his town.

11. It is not permissible that any one should interfere with the personal or family life or correspondence of another person without being entitled to do so. None is permitted to attack the honour or reputation of another, and every person has a right to approach the law-enforcing authorities in the event of oppression and interference. 1

12. Every person has a right to travel freely in his country and to settle down wherever he likes. Moreover, every person is entitled to migrate from any town and also to return to it when he likes.

13. Every person has a right to seek refuge in another country when he is subjected to tyranny and oppression.

14. Every person has possessive rights in his personal capacity or as a partner and none can be deprived of the ownership of his property under coercion.

15. Every person is entitled to reflect freely and the governments are not entitled to interfere with the religious beliefs and actions of the people.

16. Every person is entitled to hold an independent opinion and to express it, and by implication none can hurt him on account of his opinions. 2

17. Every person is entitled to intervene in the activities of the Department of Public Affairs of the country either directly or through a freely elected representative. Every person has a right to take part in public activities on equal conditions, and self-determination of the people is the origin and basis of the authority of government.

18. Every person is entitled to benefit from the natural responsibilities of the members of the society which they owe to one another. The economic, social and educational rights, which are necessary for a person according to his status, are guaranteed for him and the entire nation with the co-operation of the governments is responsible to pay these rights.

19. Every person is entitled to select the profession he likes and to demand sufficient conditions for it which are compatible with justice. He is also entitled to be helped to get rid of unemployment. All persons are entitled, without any exception, to demand appropriate wages for the work done by them. Every worker has a right to demand wages, which are sufficient for his and his family's sustenance and with which he may build his life in accordance with human dignity. If at any time the usual wages are insufficient to support him he should be compensated by some collective means. 3

20. It is every person's right that he and his family should lead their lives with means of welfare and security, especially in the matter of food, dress, lodging, health and social affairs. Furthermore, he/she should be assisted in the event of unemployment, weakness, old age, and widowhood, and in all such circumstances as make it impossible for him/her to earn.

21. Every person has a right to acquire knowledge.

Education should be free and primary education should be compulsory. The object of education should be the nurture of human personality and respect for rights and political freedom. It is also necessary that education should be means of strengthening mutual reconciliation, forgiveness and friendship between the nations and should assist the United Nations in its mission of peace.

22. The individuals owe some duties to the society which must be fulfilled by them, because the personality of the individuals is built under the auspices of the society.

23. The individuals cannot be prevented from demanding their rights and enjoying freedom except in matter for which laws have been enacted to protect and respect the rights and freedom of others, or rules have been prescribed by society for the protection of good morals, administration of government and public welfare.
These rights and freedom should not in any circum stances interfere with the aims and objects of the United Nations.

24. The sentences and language of this charter should not be interpreted in such a way that any government, party or individual may become entitled to react and nullify practically the freedoms provided for in this charter.

These are the most important points which are recorded in the charter of the U.N. regarding the rights and freedom of man. These are the very rights which are often violated by the signatory governments.

I think that the readers must have realized the sufficiency of these instructions with the help of the rules enunciated by Imam Ali and must also have recognized their similarity, with the exception of the terminology which has changed with the passage of time and the ideas which have appeared on account of the developments, which have taken place during the present age. However, the affection and kindness, which is seen in the rules framed by the Imam, is missing from the charter of the United Nations.

In the following chapter we shall mention the high morals and virtues of Ali and how he kept in view the relationship of life which exists between the living beings and how he respected it in his words and deeds.

In another chapter we shall review in detail the conditions of the Arab world during the periods of Bani Umayyah, Bani Abbas and other rulers, and shall explain how they violated these rules, so that, by a comparative study of Ali's conduct and theirs, the value of the rules enunciated by him may become known in a better way.

While giving in detail the rules prescribed by Imam Ali in previous chapters we have already shown their worth and value, and in these two chapters we conclude our discussion regarding Ali and human rights, so that we may turn our attention to other matters.

  • 1. A large part of the contents of this charter is not compatible with the objects of socialism, because in the socialist countries complete freedom of the individuals is considered to be opposed to the interests of the State.
  • 2. The opinions which interfere with law and order, or create disturbance or are injurious to the independence and integrity of the State are offences according to law, and the laws of every country take such offences into account. the co-operation of the governments is responsible to pay these rights.
  • 3. Freedom of action, strikes, complaints by the workers and other similar things are not permissible in accordance with the socialistic ideology, because whatever is connected with action and economy is controlled by the despotic government and opposition to government is treated to be a revolt against it.