Address By His Excellency Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
“O mankind !We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female,
and made you into nations and tribes ,that ye may know each other.”
(Holy Quran, Al Hujurat 13)
I am very pleased to attend, for a second time, this learned meeting of scholars, thinkers and experts who have dedicated themselves so enthusiastically to the very important and valuable cause of human rights and cultural diversity.
Being present among you, dear committed researchers, who are working with great vigor and energy to better safeguard and secure more effective respect for human rights and dignity keeps our hopes alive that there are still groups of thinkers in different fields of law and human
sciences who are assiduously probing into the unknown or lesser known aspects of human nature with special focus on human needs and harms and also the necessity for protecting the mankind from the menaces raised by acquisitive tendencies in the world community.
This valuable gathering is specially significant as it is being held at a time when the Islamic Republic of Iran was host, just in last August, to one of the greatest meetings of the heads of state and government and also the other top-ranking officials of 120 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement in which the leaders of this international body adopted very important decisions in different areas including protection of human rights and dignity which was duly reflected in the Final Declaration of the NAM 16th Summit. In this document, the NAM member states not only renewed their commitment to the firm convictions of the founders of the movement concerning human rights but they also laid emphasis on the need to respect the beliefs, cultures and sanctities of different nations and peoples Also, in the fourth paragraph of the Final Declaration, the member states reiterated that human rights issues are to be dealt with through cooperation in a constructive, non-confrontational, non-selective, fair and equitable manner based on an objective balanced impartiality away from any political considerations.
In spite of the numerous instruments and also the rich literature so far produced by the international community on the need for respecting the diverse mosaic of the beliefs and cultures of the human community which is hailed, of course, as a good example of “common heritage of mankind”, much to our regret, we have been witnessing specially in recent years a wave of blatant sacrilegious acts against the beliefs and religions of other nations particularly Muslims with an over-one billion- strong population who have suffered most from such hatred campaigns. Insulting the beliefs of human societies is, undoubtedly, a flagrant violation of the fundamental human rights under the basic instruments of international law. And also due to their inflammatory and provocative aspects they contain the elements of other types of crime and violence as well. This huge campaign of sacrilege is waged against Muslims’ beliefs in spite of the fact that based on the sublime teachings of Islam all religions and human beliefs are respected and Muslims are not allowed to insult or hold in contempt the beliefs of other peoples (even those which are understood to be misguided).
A glance at the literary, mystical and religious literatures of different cultures demonstrates that invitation to equality and brotherhood, altruism and humanitarianism and avoidance of war, discrimination, violence and prejudices are among the most fundamental principles shared by all time honored cultures and civilizations.
Human rights reflect the most noble ideals of humanity in their entirety. Hence, human rights, in view of their sublime value, can not be reduced to the level of positive laws enacted by human beings and be treated as such. Also, protection, implementation or promotion of human rights cannot certainly be claimed to be the monopoly of a small part of the international community. Rather, they are to be accepted and respected by all and a common platform is needed to be set to enable a universal dialogue among all states and nations to engage with equal rights in and contribute to such a joint endeavour for their universal recognition
There is no doubt that all nations and peoples across the globe in spite of their different cultural, historical and religious backgrounds, characteristics and values share the universal concept of human rights. Recognition of plurality and diversity of cultures and ethnicities which has also been affirmed by the Holy Quran is meant to foster better understanding in human
relations rather than create barriers to them.
Contribution of different cultures in determining the international norms and standards of human rights will undoubtedly prepare the ground for their more extensive participation in international human rights cooperation which, in turn, shall impart universal legitimacy and recognition to human rights and the use of the collective wisdom of a wider part of the international community will further enrich its contents. Also, practically speaking, utilizing the rich sources of different cultures can facilitate significantly the process of localization of
the modern concepts of human rights and their inclusion in the cultures of different
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Building the proper conditions in which human rights will not remain only a slogan and will become a way of life and human dignity, too, will be turned from a “word on paper” into a “common practice” is a strategy which has been constantly pursued by honest human rights activists. Islamic Republic of Iran, too, relying on the sublime teachings of Islam, the cultural values of its nation and also the lofty goals and objectives of the Non-Aligned Movement which my country currently chairs will do its utmost to widen, to the extent possible, the scope of the activities of NAM in pursuit of its progressive human rights objectives. And, hence, it warmly welcomes any initiative or suggestion raised by dear scholars and thinkers for that very purpose. At the end, I hope that the NAM Centre for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, as the only human rights institution associate to the NAM, through its continuous scholarly activities and also by organizing gatherings for exchange of views among scholars and thinkers such as the present one, can provide the proper environment and also a platform for an inter-cultural human rights dialogue at the global level and also produce effective mechanisms for the participation of different cultures in the advancement and promotion of human rights both at the conceptual and practical levels and present them to the true and honest advocates and supporters of human rights and dignity in the world.