The Relationship between Cultural Diversity and Human Rights

Mostafa Alaei

Mostafa A’laye*

The subject of the statement is the relationship between the cultural diversity and human rights in more than one aspect: the human rights per se, the universality of human rights and the roots of the notion of cultural diversity in the human rights documents developed and adopted in the United Nation system and other organizations.
In this statement, the notion of cultural diversity, based on the abovementioned documents, is reflected as a general and broad term that refers to a wide range of concepts such as national and historical conditions, national, historical and regional particularities, development circumstances, etc.

-Universality of human rights should be interpreted in a way to allow preservation of cultural and religious diversity. In other words, it should “create space for diversity within universality and finding support for universality within diversity”.
-Human right is a “dynamic and evolving process”. Thus the Universality of human rights should constitute a learning process in which different cultures and religions could involve in intercultural dialogue and interaction aiming at reaching cross-cultural basic elements to facilitate the implementation of universal rights.
-Human rights are all about political and legal justice. Thus human rights do not provide a worldview and cannot compete with cultures and religions in that they do not talk about death and life and the corresponding ways of life.
-Human rights are universal. However, the universality of human rights does not necessarily imply, per se, the universality of all human rights instruments. There are human rights instruments that are, theoretically and practically, not universal. Documents based on regional and religious particularities are the best proof.

*Mostafa A’laye (1955) MA in Politics; holder of Human Rights Certificate from Prince Edward Island, Canada and San Remo Institute, Italy; expert on human rights and women rights; expert on human rights and social affairs at the missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Geneva and New York for 8 years; several executive responsibilities including chairman, adviser and senor expert in General Assembly committees of the United Nations in New York and Commission on the Status of Women and Human Rights Commission in Geneva and Organization for Islamic Countries (OIC); researcher, author and instructor in the field of Human Rights.


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