The idea of cultural relativism is nothing but an excuse to violate human rights.— Shirin Ebadi
The most revealing Shirin Ebadi quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
Lawyers have a dangerous job in Iran.
Human rights is a universal standard. It is a component of every religion and every civilization.
Whenever women protest and ask for their rights, they are silenced with the argument that the laws are justified under Islam. It is an unfounded argument. It is not Islam at fault, but rather the patriarchal culture that uses its own interpretations to justify whatever it wants.
Women are the victims of this patriarchal culture, but they are also its carriers. Let us keep in mind that every oppressive man was raised in the confines of his mother's home.
I maintain that nothing useful and lasting can emerge from violence.
How can you defy fear? Fear is a human instinct, just like hunger.
Whether you like it or not, you become hungry. Similarly with fear. But I have learned to train myself to live with this fear.
When a person is humiliated, when his rights are being violated, and he does not have the proper education, naturally he gravitates toward terrorism.
The condition of women in Islamic societies as a whole is also far from desirable. However, we should acknowledge that there are differences. In certain countries, the conditions are much better and in others much worse.
We must not enable anyone to impose his personal view regarding religion on others by force, oppression, or pressure.
We demand a non-violent world where human security is the basis of our common global security. People have the right to live in a world where the basic needs of all peoples are addressed. No more military attacks. No more war.
Contrary to what certain governments say, human rights are universal.
Arbitrary detention, torture and discrimination hurt the human dignity of anybody, whatever his or her country of origin, religion, descent, or any other ground.
Unfortunately, violence begets violence.
And this is how the war on terrorism seems to be going at this juncture. A lot of people are losing their lives. Many children are losing their parents. Too many houses are being destroyed. And, unfortunately, the arms industry seems to flourish.
When there is enough oxygen in the air for everyone, no one is going to take to violence in order to access it. But if there were not enough of it for everyone then people would result to violence in order to get it. Therefore we have to improve the conditions to have better human beings.
What is important is that one utilizes one's intellect and not to be 100 percent sure about one's convictions. One should always leave room for doubt.
There is no "true Islam," just different interpretations.
Over 60 percent of the university students in Iran are female.
The women in Iran are better educated than men.
I know of no civilization that tolerates or justifies violence, terrorism, or injustice. There is no civilization that justifies the killing of innocent people. Those who are invoking cultural relativism are really using that as an excuse for violating human rights and to put a cultural mask on the face of what they're doing.
Democracy doesn't recognize east or west;
democracy is simply people's will. Therefore, I do not acknowledge that there are various models of democracy; there is just democracy itself.
The people are fed up with corruption and embezzlement.
They object to censorship. The first thing that the people of Iran want is free elections.
I am the voice of the people in Iran whose voices are silent and whose demands cannot be heard by the rest of the world.
Lawyers should not be charged with the same crimes as their clients.
Trials related to political charges are not in accordance with human rights.
When we criticize in Iran the actions of the government, the fundamentalists say that we and the Bush Administration are in the same camp. The funny thing is that human rights activists and Mr. Bush can never be situated in the same group.
I hope the example of Saddam Hussein will give a lesson to leaders of other countries where human rights are not respected.
The Iranian government intends to use the nuclear program for peaceful purposes, but must convince international public opinion of that.
Any person who pursues human rights in Iran must live with fear from birth to death, but I have learned to overcome my fear.
No American soldier should be allowed to set foot on Iranian soil, regardless of the criticism we have of the Iranian government.
We must acquaint the youth to the realities of the world.
.. we must tell them that millions of people around the world have no access to drinking water.
I have never been convinced throughout my life that one needs to be imitating others. I even tell my daughters not to look at me as a model.
We shouldn't just consider the desire of government to do what it wants to do.
We should always consider the resistance of people. The culture of Iranian people doesn't let the government drag people into deep trouble or backlash. Maybe government wants it, but the culture doesn't let it go on.
democracy ... is not something that occurs overnight. It is not a gift delivered on a golden tray. Democracy is a long process of fighting, challenging accepted ideas, and perpetually striving for freedom. Like a seed that has to be watered every day to become a flower, democracy needs constant attention and care.
There is a verse [in the Koran] that says God swears by time.
Anything you gain in life, you pay for with your time. Time is the most important thing that has been given to man.
The government of Iran claims that every two years there are elections. But none of them are free.
People are fundamentally good. But conditions deteriorate them.
The fight against terrorism is a legitimate fight.
And certainly whoever commits terrorism should be brought to justice. Unfortunately, the United States and a few other governments have used the war on terrorism as a way of violating human rights.
Every time I am fearful I think to myself, the reason they do this is to discourage me from doing what I do. Hence, if I discontinue my work I will have succumbed to my fears.
A Muslim man can have up to four wives.
He can divorce his wife without offering any reason, while it is quite difficult for a woman to get a divorce. The testimony of two women is equal to that of one man. Any woman who wishes to travel needs the written permission of her husband. And the number of unemployed women is four times that of men.
Sixty-three percent of our university students are female.
But you still see violations of women's rights in Iran. A Muslim man can have up to four wives. He can divorce his wife without offering any reason, while it is quite difficult for a woman to get a divorce.
The international community can't trust such a government.
If the government of Iran wants the international community to believe in what it says, it should try to bring true, pure democracy into the country. The political solution to the energy issue or the nuclear case is democracy in Iran.
Everyone's condition is different, and the way that each person lives his or her life is different.
It is totally unacceptable for a government to interfere in the internal affairs of another government and send aid, money, and weapons, to the people who are against a certain regime in another country.
No government can make me wear a veil, no government can force me not to wear it either
Some criticize me, thinking I'm too tolerant of the clerical regime in Iran.
In response, I have to say, I have served time in prison, I have lost my position [as a judge]. Do I need to prove that I am brave? Do I need to be killed?
The younger generation is essentially idealistic.
This applies to the Iranian youth as well. In addition, the youth in Iran face certain difficulties... the Iranian youth need more freedom. They are struggling for more freedom and democracy. This commands great respect.
I have never had a governmental position, and I will never accept such a position.
My aim is to show that those governments that violate the rights of people by invoking the name of Islam have been misusing Islam.
Sadly the job security of lawyers has been ruined, so they are less willing to defend political defendants.
It's not just about hope and ideas. It's about action.
My hopes for Iran's future lies with women first and foremost.
Iran's feminist movement is very strong. This movement has no leader or head quarters. Its place is the home of every Iranian who believes in equal rights. This is currently the strongest women's movement in the Middle East.
Certainly, the fight against terrorism is a legitimate fight.
And certainly whoever commits terrorism should be brought to justice.