Nobel Peace Prize laureate speaks on Islam, democracy and human rights
Lawyer, activist, and one of Iran’s first female judges, Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work on behalf of democracy and human rights in Iran. As an advocate of free speech and political freedom, Ebadi has demonstrated great courage and perseverence. She espouses religious freedom, including the rights of the Baha’i community which has long been persecuted in Iran. A tireless advocate for the rights of refugees and of women and children, she is a founder and legal adviser of the Association for the Support of Children’s Rights in Iran. Among her books translated into English are The Rights of the Child: A Study of Legal Aspects of Children’s Rights in Iran and History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran.
In her acceptance speech, Ebadi said that the decision to award the Nobel Prize to her, “as the first Iranian and the first woman from a Muslim country, inspires me and millions of Iranians and nationals of Islamic states with the hope that our efforts, endeavors and struggles toward the realization of human rights and the establishment of democracy in our respective countries enjoy the support, backing and solidarity of international civil society.”
Ebadi is known for promoting peaceful democratic solutions to serious social problems. She argues for a new interpretation of Islamic law which is in harmony with human rights, and seeks to cooperate with representatives of religious as well as secular views. Speaking to a young human rights activist, she once said, “Have confidence, have courage, and know that if we work hard, our struggle will be victorious.”
Published: Monday, May 03, 2004
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