subjects proposed by the Faculty of Law and Political Science.
In collaboration with the Office of UNDP in Tehran, we have done many activities in the framework of this project and I can explain the general objectives of the project as follows:
promoting common understanding of human rights as set out in international human rights standards and in Islamic law and jurisprudence;
elaborating the status and the significant role that national and regional particularities and historical, cultural, and religious background can play in international human rights standards and national conditions, and the role of domestic law in the protection and promotion of human rights;
developing capacity and resource materials for meetings and Iranian human rights needs; and
initiating and sustaining a dialogue on more effective implementation and realization of human rights between academia, professional expertise, bureaucracy, and civil society.
The project is composed of different parts. Because research is needed as a better basis of education, one of the most important parts of the comprehensive project is research. I will explain about the different parts of this project in more detail and, after that, focus on its relation to the dialogue of civilizations.
As I said research is necessary for better education, so we have three research studies in this comprehensive project. The first is about freedom of expression. The second one is a study of the concept of equality, equity, and justice in human rights, especially from Islamic perspective. The third one is strengthening international cooperation in the field of human rights. All of them are run by professors in human rights—one of them by Dr. Katouzian, the other one by Dr. Ashori, and the third by Dr. Momtaz. All of them are in the Faculty of Law and Political Science and they are conducting these three important research projects with assistance of qualified researchers.
About freedom of expression, we know there are some provisions in the international instrument and also that, compared to Islamic views, we should have a more realistic approach in the concepts of equality, equity, and justice research, especially for women’s rights.
For strengthening cooperation in international human rights we have proposed a resolution to the UN general assembly in 1998. Following the U.N., General Assembly resolution in 1998 which stipulates that the year 2001 be entrusted with the tremendous dialogue among civilization, a U.N. follow-up implementation of the resolution about further enhancing the exercise of dialogue by focusing internationally on the concept of peace.
Another part of this project is training workshops as a means of education in three important areas of human rights: for women, children, and people with disabilities. We have held four workshops and two workshops remain to be held this summer. The participants are academic experts, judicial, governmental, and NGO members. We can explain about the workshops as follows.
The first workshop that we held on children’s rights was in Tehran. Its objective was increasing awareness of people in charge and increasing rights of the child by provisions of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a convention that, after establishing the Islamic republic, we ratified with some reservations, for some provisions contradict Sharia code. Of course, in reality, this has made some difficulties, and the council of guardians (Shoraie Negahban) has highlighted the provisions that are important for our reservations.
We have reached the goals of strategic plan of 2002 for the welfare of children, but for the implementation of CRC we have some difficulties and should have a more realistic approach for implementing this convention.
The first workshop was held about the difficulties of implementation of the CRC in Iran. May I say that when we started the workshop in Tehran, at the end of the second day we realized how we have been successful to spreading the spirit of this convention to the community and getting their attention.
We have held a second workshop in Mashad, one of the cities in the east of Iran, and, again, there we had some participants from the judiciary, IGO, and NGOs. In these workshops we had rich discussions and in its working group we had elaborate discussions and now, in judiciary, there is a committee to consider some important matters.
The other aspect that we have touched on in this project is about women’s rights. The problem of violence against women is not considered very important in Iranian society and we need more statistics about domestic violence. We have treated the matter in one of our workshops and our workshop about violence against women was the first in Iranian society.
The objectives of the workshop were collecting data about the problem of violence against women in Iran, increasing their sensibility and awareness of the importance of making the problem known to society, offering some practical approaches to remove the causes of violence, and making reparations for the consequences due to violence to women.
At the end of the workshop we introduced a workshop declaration for eliminating violence against women and in this final declaration we clarified the problem and introduced some suggestions to the parliament and other responsible bodies to have more effective mechanisms in this area. As I mentioned, violence in the workplace and other aspects of violence against women is not very important in Iran but domestic violence can be seen as a social problem, not as important as in many countries compared to Iran.
The other area that we have held workshops was rights of the disabled. In this workshop we had some organizations that are working hard in Iran about disabilities and their problems. Again, it was the first time in Iran that we have