Statement by Sergei Martynov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, at the The Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity (Tehran, 3–4 September 2007)
Distinguished Mr. Chairman,
The subject of this meeting, “Human Rights and Cultural Diversity”, has an immediate relation to the current geopolitical situation and is of great importance for Belarus, as well as for other countries of NAM.
The world has not become more stable or secure after the collapse of the bipolar system. On the contrary, the world has lost its checks and balances. Today, the only centre of power keeps on striving to shape the world according to its own self-interests and to impose its own ready-made pattern of development to be imported by other countries.
This is obviously a dead-end track. The ambition to construct a unipolar world based on forced usurpation of power through military superiority, on striving to control natural resources made it abundantly clear that such an approach lacks either grounds or prospects. We are convinced that the potential of the unipolar world is close to be exhausted, and the existing centre of power will be unable to guarantee a long-term extrapolation of such a world order.
The Non-Aligned Movement is both able and warranted to encourage democratization of international relations. We should work together for a more fair multipolar world where there is a worthy place for all nations, big and small, developed and developing. The Non-Aligned Movement should acknowledge for itself, and press home to the others, a clear notion: such a world is not a matter of distant future, but a real world of immediate tomorrow for the global community.
Recognizing the right of countries for a diversity of ways to progress is an important starting point to forming such a multipolar system of international relations.
Our Movement truly embodies a diversity of political, economic, social and cultural systems of the world. Our primary task at present is not only to preserve our diversity for future generations, but also to transform it into a factor of power and role of the NAM. We are grateful to all the Non-Aligned Movement Members who have supported the appeal of His Excellency Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus, at the 2005 World Summit and joined us in efforts to actively promote the principle of recognizing at the international level the diversity of ways to progress.
We in Belarus firmly believe: respect for diversity of values and cultures is a key to the universal respect for human rights. Human rights are not extraneous to any modern culture. Human rights are inherent for all nations. There is no doubt, that human rights and freedoms are a fundamental value of a democratic society. Their respect, and ensuring, is a clean feature of a state of the rule of law. However, imposing of political and economic sanctions, interference into internal affairs and enforcing a single model of democracy will never allow to achieve universal respect, for and effective protection of, human rights. It is high time to understand that democracy does not have universal forms, and democratic “standards” being imposed today might not be suitable for all the states.
Some states are striving to prove their superiority over the rest of the world by coercive measures. This does not entail anything but negative consequences for human rights. We must resist such measures with determination as they are incompatible with the international law and the UN Charter.
Belarus is firmly convinced, international co-operation in the field of human rights must be based on the principles of dialogue and equal partnership. These principles are embodied in the key documents of the Non-Aligned Movement. These very principles were taken by our delegation as guidance at the 61st session of the UN General Assembly, when Belarus initiated the adoption of the resolution “Promotion of equitable and mutually respectful dialogue on human rights”. We are grateful to NAM Member States for their full support for the said resolution.
Belarus stands for further advancement in the United Nations of the NAM basic human rights approaches. This will allow to fortify the first steps made in the Human Rights Council towards restoring the letter and spirit of the UN Charter in the field of human rights.
The principled stand of the NAM was instrumental in the adoption of important decisions in the UN human rights activity. The Non-Aligned Movement was able to succeed in protecting its interests in the institutional building of the Human Rights Council, in particular in rationalization of the special rapporteurs activities. This is a significant example of our abilities and assets. It proves that NAM Member States can consolidate decisions on important issues.
At the same time we must honestly admit, the Movement sometimes fails to demonstrate genuine solidarity. From time to time our opponents use our existing differences quite effectively to undermine the unity of NAM. Such attempts are taken year in and year out at the sessions of the UN General Assembly. This year is not going to be an exception either. At the forthcoming UN General Assembly session some countries may try to sow the seeds of strife among us and arrange a show flogging of countries, which afford to conduct independent domestic and foreign policy.
We must stand up strongly for political protection of the NAM Members subjected to external pressure. Otherwise there is only one option: we will be “pulled apart” one by one. And the next time those who kept silence or took compromising attitude may become an objective of such pressures themselves.
Many challenges threaten human rights today, one of the most outrageous of them being the widening economic gap between the rich and the poor and unprecedented poverty growth caused by present world economic order.
During the NAM Summit in Havana the Republic of Belarus, not by chance, stressed the need to enhance economic cooperation among our countries, members of the movement. We have all which is necessary to provide stable economic growth and development to the NAM Member States (human, financial and natural resources, knowledge and technology). If we manage to use them efficiently to the benefit of all our countries, then we could live without arrogant and politically motivated economic aid. Economic growth, raising the standard of living will allow us to satisfy the social and economic needs of people and to create necessary conditions for full enjoyment of their social, economic and civil rights. The NAM should, for this purpose, continue its strategic course for strengthening and expansion of South – South cooperation.
To strengthen significantly the role and authority of the NAM in international issues an active and consistent work of the NAM Chair and Troika is extremely important. We are grateful to Cuba and current Troika members for their valiant and active promotion of this cause. It is essential to keep the established pace of work.
We welcome furthernew steps in this direction, particularly, creation of the NAM Centre for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity in Tehran. We also come out in favour of expansion of the NAM Chair and Troika activities in establishing contacts with other large blocks and unions of states (the EU, G-8 and others). Such steps will meaningfully contribute to the Movement strengthening and its coming into being as an independent world centre of political force, which should be our common goal.
Distinguished Mister Chairman,
A year ago at the Summit in Havana, we verified our positions and defined the main course of development for our Movement. Heads of our States and Governments adopted a comprehensive document as the Movement’s programme for the forthcoming years. Our main task now is to implement these agreements in full measure, not merely to leave them on paper. Only two conditions are needed: genuine responsibility for the world’s future and political will to act. Together only we are able to defend our common values effectively, to resist foreign dictates, military threats, unfounded sanctions and economic discrimination.
Thank you for your attention.
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