On Friday, February 15, 2013, the OHCHR held a seminar on “International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights.” The seminar was called for by a HRC resolution tabled by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). It was yet another opportunity for oppresive regimes to attack Western democracies and the universal nature of human rights.
Iran, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, reinforced the idea that cultural diversity was essential for human rights. “Countries should be allowed to protect human rights while taking into account their own national conditions.” Furthermore, it argued “It is not practical or feasible for all countries to adopt the same model.”
During the Q&A period, Iran raised the issue of sanctions as an impediment to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, hinting that the rights of Iranians were violated as a result of international sanctions. The Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran due to their non-cooperation with UN mechanisms which monitor their nuclear program.
Cuba stated that it was a shining example of the progress that can be made in the field of human rights with meager resources. The Cuban diplomat explained that measures to strengthen cooperation in the international arena have failed, due to the “politicization and manipulation of human rights mechanisms.” He said that they had hoped that the Human Rights Council would be a “new dawn,” but that it has followed the same failed destiny of the Commission on Human Rights. The Cuban diplomat concluded by expressing his dismay that things have not changed since the days of the Human Rights Commission.