His Excellency Dr. Seyyed Abbas Araqchi

12Op-Dr. Seyyed Abbas Araqchi-picture copy

“Cultural diversity represents one of the core values of humanity”

It is a great pleasure for me to be among you in this very interesting Seminar which is organized by NAM Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity with cooperation of the University of Tehran. I also wish this event a success for the promotion of the idea of Cultural Diversity in the field of human rights.

Culture serves as the basic element in the social fabric, to promote, enhance and institutionalize social awareness and responsibility, and help produce socially and culturally conscious citizens. Nevertheless, it is difficult to provide a precise definition of culture, which is a complex and multidimensional concept.

Cultural diversity represents one of the core values of humanity, as an asset which is valuable for social cohesion and peace, through increasing respect and mutual understanding. Through an examination of how diverse cultures can achieve mutual understanding in our increasingly globalized world, one can create the foundations of a universal definition of human rights.

As human beings, all of us have been raised within a particular culture, and have inherited different subjective and objective elements from the very culture that come to the surface in our perceptions and attitudes. Such a diversity of identity rooted in culture and social, political, religious and historical background of each society.

Human rights, per se, are not the construct of any particular culture as claimed by some western countries. Human rights are a cross cultural consensus having roots in all cultures and civilizations. No ready-made model human rights system should be imposed on nations. Hence, the international cooperation must deepen the common understanding of universal human rights allowing different cultures and civilizations to have their own interpretations and conceptions within the larger concept of universality of human rights worldwide.

Human rights and cultural diversity are intertwined: Full respect for human rights creates an enabling environment for, and is, a guarantee of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity can be protected and promoted only if human rights are guaranteed. At the same time, an environment conductive to cultural diversity will contribute in a significant manner to the full respect of human rights.

The purpose of this meeting is to articulate the standards required to command greater respect for the cultural rights of nations and the universality of human rights through inter-cultural relations and building consensus that will help constructing an international system on the basis of inclusion, justice, equality and human dignity.

History and experience tell us that only through dialogue, understanding and inclusive cooperation, we can explore solutions for our common problems. Inter-cultural dialogue should be pursued in a manner to facilitate and promote a universal approach toward human rights.

As formation of NAM in 1961 was a result of efforts made to prevent global political domination, the Movement should naturally aim to prevent cultural domination of certain powers and play its role in preserving cultural diversity and boosting human rights in a proper way.

To this end, it is necessary for all of us as Non-Aligned Movement member states to precisely study and evaluate different dimensions of cultural rights, confront efforts which are trying to impose uniculturalism to the world and address the concerns of developing communities in this regard and it could be achieved through joint entities like Non-Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity.

Allow me at the end, to wish success for all the participants at this meeting and I hope its outcome provide new opportunities for the enhancement and promotion of human rights among all humanity through respect for cultural diversity, history, traditions, values and the beliefs of all people.