In a speech at the official prize award ceremony in Oslo on Wednesday, Shirin Ebadi clearly targeted the US human rights record.
“In the past two years, some states have violated the universal principles and laws of human rights by using the events of 11 September and the war on international terrorism as a pretext,” the first Muslim woman peace prize winner said.
Ebadi also criticised America’s allies, claiming human rights laws are breached not only by recognized opponents, but by Western democracies too.
In her acceptance speech, the 56-year-old Nobel laureate highlighted the plight of prisoners detained at a US base in Guantanamo.
“They are without the benefit 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.”
“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?”
Chosen for her democracy-building efforts and her work to improve human rights and women’s rights in Iran, Ebadi also pointed to selective application of United Nations decisions.
“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,” she continues.
“Yet, in the past 12 years, the state and people of Iraq… were subjected to attack, military assault, economic sanctions, and, ultimately, military occupation.”
Ebadi received the prize from chairman of the Nobel Committee Ole Mjoes at a formal ceremony on Wednesday in Oslo’s City Hall.
The prize consists of a diploma, a gold medal, and a cheque for 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million).
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.