Address By His Excellency Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi
In the Name of God the Compassionate the Merciful
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, I would like to welcome all the Iranian and foreign guests to the “First international Conference on Human Rights and Cultures; Cultures in Support of Humanity” and wish this event, organized by NAMCHRCD in cooperation with other Iranian and foreign organizations, to be the starting point for future scientific endeavors in this field.
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 plurality of identity rooted in culture and social, political, religious and historical background of each society has also been approved according to Islamic thoughts and the holy Koran, where God the almighty explicitly reiterates people, we created you from males and females, and divided you into tribes and groups in order to make you understand)1.
Accepting this plurality of ethnic groups and tribes doubtlessly comes with accepting its related requirements and necessities, which is recognition of human dignity for all as well as respect for different cultural/social identities. In the holy Koran, human beings are clearly considered as owners of a God-given dignity2. This kind of plurality and diversity is of course for a particular purpose, which is driving us to stick to moral values, as well as piousness. Koran explicitly states after recognition of diversity and plurality that the most honored person before God is the most pious one3. In addition, in Islamic teachings the ultimate all-encompassing development of human rights relies on a proper culture as well as correct cultural doctrines. This statement implies that developing various dimensions of human rights is not possible without having a correct perception of the universe, mankind, human life and human capacities along with moral values and God-given rationality, in addition to proper legal principles.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues
In contemporary world, despite all the amazing achievements of mankind, unfortunately lots of efforts are made to ignore diversity and plurality of various human communities, and intellectual paradigms of some countries with political, economic, military or media dominance are imposed on others, while such an imposition is justified with the term universality. Meanwhile, different methods are used to inculcate that the right path to develop human rights is the extremist liberal perception that leads to an unleashed joy-based view of the world, mankind and his life, disregarding the origin and destination of creation. By such an imposed approach, despite so many propagandas of those who claim acceptance of plurality and diversity, it is in fact the uniformity of theoretical basis and legal content of human rights and duties that is intended in one way or another. We believe that along with continuous awareness of this undesirable phenomenon, measures similar to what NAM is taking in the framework of establishing centers for human rights and cultural diversity can prevent some of the threats arising from such approaches imposed on human rights across the world.
The truth is that in the framework of existing global mechanisms, there are still numerous shortcomings facing cultural rights of human beings. While since 2009 a rapporteur has been appointed for cultural rights by the UN Human Rights Council, who has prepared several reports so far, however, what is achieved is way below the needs of human community, and it seems that concerns of developing countries haven’t been taken into account in reports prepared by the esteemed cultural rights rapporteur.
As formation of NAM in 1961 was a result of efforts made to prevent global political and cultural domination, naturally the organization is trying to play its role in preserving cultural diversity and boosting human rights in a proper way. To this end, it is necessary for all NAM member states to precisely study and evaluate different dimensions of cultural rights as well as concerns of developing communities in their legal and national level, also in the framework of joint entities like NAMCHRCD.
Therefore, the present event is a valuable opportunity to recommend the esteemed UN cultural rights rapporteur to increase his interaction with NAM state members that constitute more than two third of UN member states, and take all the precautionary measures to avoid the cultural domination intended by some states to influence his/her activities and intellectual approaches. UNESCO is also bearing a heavy burden of responsibility and nations have high expectations from this organization, therefore, I wish success for this UN agency to fulfill its obligations.
Dear professors, thinkers and researchers;
You are expected to take into account, assess and criticize the efforts made by dominance-seeking states who try to ratify unilateral politically biased resolutions in international assemblies held in the field of culture and human rights, or other concepts within the general category of culture and human rights. Many instances can be put forth in this regard, where intentions of certain countries are followed that can doubtlessly damage the global convergence necessary for strengthening human rights culture. In addition, I would like to ask the audience to accurately assess effects of economic globalization and the crises arising from recent economic modifications on cultures and cultural rights of different communities, to ultimately find proper solutions needed to overcome some of its related threats.
As usual, I.R.Iran supports all the wise, sympathetic and politically unbiased endeavors to develop human rights on a global basis. To this end, it particularly encourages activation of civil entities to support the influential presence of different cultures in developing human rights. Such entities, composed e.g. of MPs, members of religious circles and other NGOs active in various social fields, can certainly make a difference by managing to strengthen the required cultural basis for complying with human rights from bottom upwards, in other words from the main body of the society, and not by dictating certain criteria and principles from above without preparing the necessary grounds and socio-cultural capacity, in a mandatory way.
In the end, I would like to wish the present conference success in realistically upgrading human rights across the globe.