October 31, 2005

Calling for Iraqi Bill of Rights

Hatched by Dafydd

Omar on Iraq the Model reports on a conference he just attended. It was called Oath of Iraq (Ahd Al-Iraq), organized by a number of prominent Iraqi women and including powerful members of the national and tribal governments:

The event was attended by more than a few female Assembly members as well as several tribal sheiks and representatives of other political entities and organizations…one can fairly say that a wide range of social and political the spectrum of Iraq population was well represented in the event.

The group seems to be an attempt to enact an Iraqi bill of rights as the first amendments to the Iraqi constitution. The conferees initially proposed five amendments:

  • A requirement for the explicit definition of the term of art "public order and ethics," which the constitution allows as a limit on certain basic rights and freedoms (speech, press, assembly, peaceful protest). Otherwise, individual judges can invoke it whenever they don't like the free exercise of freedom.

(Someone should warn Omar that even defining it doesn't always work... as we've found out with regard to the Second Amendment, the "interstate commerce" clause, and too many others!)

  • An amendment "to return back to the civil law legislated back in 1959 and to prevent Shareat [Sharia] laws from replacing that law."
  • Clarifying the qualifications of the supreme federal court, the requirement that Sharia judges not outnumber legal judges, and the demand for at least 25% of the court to be female.
  • Requiring the Committee to review all laws to ensure they do not violate the Iraqi constitution.
  • Requiring the Higher Human Rights Committee to review all laws to ensure they do not violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

They had better tread carefully with that last amendment, and with the constitutional invocation (explicit and implicit) of the Universal Declaration. It is a bludgeon used by the United Nations to force conformity with European social-welfare policies and includes such whoppers as....

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
  • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
  • Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

And so forth. All these look nice on paper -- but the first is so vague as to justify anything, while the last is out and out Socialism; the others more or less boil down to the requirement that the productive labor on behalf of the unproductive... which seems to violate Article 4:

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

One more amendment was proposed by a tribal sheikh of Sadr City, and this one seems eminently reasonable. As Omar puts it in the post from Iraq the Model:

The entire crowd welcomed the notes of one tribal Sheik from Sadr city who raised an objection to one clause in the punishment law which states that teachers and husbands should not be persecuted if they use disciplinary beating against their students or wives respectively. in his unexpected note, the sheik asked the committee to include correcting this clause in its agenda. [Emphasis added]

Given the abuse of both women and students that is endemic in the Arab Middle East, such an amendment is vital.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 31, 2005, at the time of 2:01 AM

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The following hissed in response by: stackja1945

Equality for all! Simple but would this be acceptable? All free to rise or fall! No special help, seems impossible.

The above hissed in response by: stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 31, 2005 5:42 PM

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