Freedom and Equality

Articles one and two of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state the following:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

“All men are born free and equal” - this sentence, which may seem implicit to most of us, reflects the basic principle of the equality of all human beings. It is a principle based on religious beliefs, universal moral principles, international treaties and legal legislation. Despite the wide consensus on its content, it is far from being implemented in reality. At the University of Babylon, we are actively examining the issue of equality in university education. After the enactment of the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, a number of court decisions determined that the right to equality is a constitutional right, and there is no clear text in the Iraqi constitution that allows the right to be violated. Therefore, the university actively strives to implement equality and works hard to bridge social gaps. The university also applies the basis of equality in many areas including the equitable allocation of educational resources for both genders, which is necessary to achieve equal opportunities within society. Equality also includes the equal distribution of university resources among its educational facilities in order to provide equal opportunities in study. Students learning in an air-conditioned, digitalized classroom with a small number of students will surely benefit from advantages over students of similar abilities who learn in a hot, old, and overcrowded classroom. Such form of discrimination creates huge social gaps between different groups in the academic community. Important terms to shed light on are hidden discrimination, and institutional discrimination as overt form of discrimination in society. Another term is social gaps. Differential treatment always constitutes a prohibited violation of equality, if such treatment is caused by a subjective factor. This does not mean that there are some necessary cases in order to establish equality. For example, Iraqi law obliges institutions to devote positions to women on directory boards as a step in the context of women emancipation and eliminating discrimination. Ultimately, this obligation aims to achieve equality between men and women.

“And train your heart to feel compassion for the people, to love them and be kind to them. Do not behave like a ferocious beast towards them, snatching away their sustenance, for the people are of two categories: they are your brothers in religion and/or your fellow human beings.”

Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib – Nahj Al-Balaghah