Tablet to the Kings:
Human Rights and Collective Security

By Sohrab Kourosh

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #20
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Michigan, USA
October 9–12, 1998
(see list of papers from #20)

    The magnificent scientific and technological achievements of the twentieth century have led to its characterization as the Atomic Age, the Space Century, the Computer Century, the Communications Century, and so on. The impact of each one of these achievements on the various aspects of the human life has been so significant that it is difficult to choose one of them alone to characterize this century. However, in the field of social progress and achievements, there is no dispute; this century is the Human Rights Century.

    The recognition and establishment of "Human Rights" as defined in the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Bill of Rights, which are ratified by the member States, is the most significant social achievement of the century, or possibly of the entirety of human history.

    There is a common belief among the Bahá'ís that the scientific and technological advancements of the past 150 years have been achieved under the influence of the spiritual forces of the new Manifestation of God to prepare the physical environment for the establishment of His New World Order and to promote an ever-advancing civilization. However, this remains in the realm of subjective belief and conjecture, because it can be argued that these advancements are the results of the evolutionary process of science and technology that started with the Industrial Revolution of the 1760s and are not the result of Divine intervention.

    At any rate, the concept of Human Rights, as we know it today, is not the result of a gradual evolution of the ideas and ideals of the leaders, philosophers, and philanthropists of previous centuries. The concept of Human Rights as adopted in this century is fundamentally different in both its basis and paradigm with the 1870s Human Rights concept. A review of the historical evolution of this concept is indicative of a paradigm shift in this century; the new concept is very similar to the fundamental basis of Human Rights as God-given rights, rather than a social contract and as rights that transcend national boundaries and legal jurisdictions, and are guaranteed by a system of global governance and laws. Such rights, in general form, were revealed in the Tablet of the Kings and their characteristics defined in other Bahá'í scriptures.

    Universal Human Rights is an integral part and a pillar of the unity of mankind. Although the different elements of this social edifice, this new paradigm, are scattered in the vast treasury of the Bahá'í scriptures, some of its most important elements were defined and announced for the first time in the Tablet to the Kings and the proclamations to the leaders of the world.

    The new definitions of the power, the authority, and the duties of kings and leaders as the trustees, not owners, of the powers and rights; the concept of the rights of the people (the downtrodden); the definition of justice as safeguarding the rights of people and giving to each its due; the concept of collective security as means of reducing the burden on the people and subjects; and the unity of the nature of man and the elimination of any natural distinction among humans, are announced in a universal manner to the kings and rulers of the world in this Tablet.

    The revelation of these Tablets and proclamations "signals the advent of an organic change in the structure of the present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced." Humanity, which was just rescued from the condemnation of "original sin" and its station elevated and ennobled in the Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, received its due and its God-given rights eventually were restored. The establishment of human rights based on the Bahá'í paradigm "is a fresh manifestation of the direct involvement of God in history."

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