(IPS) OSLO --
her acceptance speech of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, distributed today, Iranian rights activist Shirin Ebadi harshly criticized the U.S. for using the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to violate international law and human rights.
"In the past two years, some states have violated the universal principles and laws of human rights by using the events of Sept. 11 and the war on international terrorism as a pretext," she said in the speech carried by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"The concerns of human rights advocates increase when they observe that international human rights laws are breached not only by their recognized opponents [...], but that these principles are also violated in Western democracies."
The Nobel laureate, 56, asserted that detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo base had been deprived of "the rights stipulated under the international Geneva conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the [United Nations] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
During a press conference at the Nobel Institute in Oslo yesterday, Ebadi further criticized the U.S. for trying to impose democracy by military force, warning that such attempts were "null and void."
"Democracy should not be used to attack other countries, to launch military attacks against other countries," she added, asserting she did not want to see a repetition in Iran of the U.S.-led war on Iraq.
"The realization of democracy is a national and patriotic duty of ours" and "any kind of military assault is futile," said Ebadi, recognized for her democracy-building efforts and her work to improve human rights and women's rights in Iran.
Ebadi pointed to selective application of United Nations decisions, suggesting that the U.S. was applying a double standard.
"Why is it that some decisions and resolutions of the UN Security Council are binding, while some other resolutions of the council have no binding force?" she asked, pointing to the different treatment of Israel and Iraq.
"Why is it that in the past 35 years, dozens of UN resolutions concerning the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the state of Israel have not been implemented properly," Ebadi continued.
"Yet, in the past 12 years, the state and people of Iraq were subjected to attack, military assault, economic sanctions, and, ultimately, military occupation."
Dressed in a pink pantsuit, with no hijab, the Iranian activist reaffirmed the compatibility of Islam and human rights.
"If innocent people are killed in the name of Islam, that's wrong," she said.
Ebadi frequently defended Islam against charges that it is incompatible with the western concept of human rights.
"Islam is not incompatible with human rights and all Muslims should be glad of this prize. If you read the Qur'an you will see there is nothing in it that is against human rights... For 20 years, I have been putting out the message that it is possible to be Muslim and have laws that respect human rights," she told a news conference in Paris last October after the prize announcement.
Ebadi, the first Muslim woman ever to receive the prestigious award, will receive the prize from chairman of the Nobel Committee Ole Mjoes.
King Harald V of Norway, who is usually present at the ceremony, sent his excuses this time, as he is recovering from surgery he underwent for bladder cancer on Monday, December 8.
The prize consists of a diploma, a gold medal, and a check for 10 million Swedish kronor [about 1.4 million dollars, 1.1 million euros].
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