Speech at the First Annual Conference of CICA Non-Governmental Forum

H.E. Dr. Aliakbar Valayati Former Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on the formation of the first annual conference of the CICA Non-Governmental Forum. I have the privilege to participate in this gathering on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran—the founder of one of Asia’s most ancient and biggest human civilizations. I hope this conference would pave the way for greater constructive cooperation among the countries of this ancient and big Asian continent, so that Asians in various official and non-official levels could resolve challenges and the many problems they face through interaction and understanding.
We are all aware that Asia as the cradle of big human civilizations has played a unique and crucial role throughout the history in the formation of human culture and civilization. Asia has also been the birthplace of divine religions and the cornerstone of various philosophical, styles and methods of artistic creativity and innovation. Having said that, our continent today is grappling with a lot of problems and challenges in various sectors of politics, security, economy, environment and human dialogue. Such challenges cannot be resolved unless we demonstrate solidarity and forge cooperation and constructive interaction among Asians and other nations of the world in official and non official, governmental and non-governmental capacities.
In terms of security, unfortunately in the past recent years and due to various reasons such as the unjustifiable intervention of trans-regional powers, an increasing wave of organized terrorism, extremism and violence has threatened many parts of Asia. Worse than that are the governments which use this vicious phenomenon as a tool to advance their illegitimate goals. Thousands of innocent people including women and children have fallen victim on a daily basis to such blind terrorism, fanaticism and ethnic, religious and racial extremism. In addition, the stockpile and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as the unjustified and destructive interference of specific countries in the internal affairs of the others have exposed Asia and other parts of the world to the danger of insecurity and humanitarian crisis such as the worrying increase in the number of refugees, migrants and human trafficking. An example of such crime against humanity is the blind and savage bombardment of the oppressed and defenseless people of Yemen and Gaza. Under false pretext, civilians and non-military places such as schools, hospitals, residential buildings and urban and rural infrastructure are being targeted in obscenity against all humanitarian principles and provisions of the Geneva Conventions before the eyes of human society.
The Islamic Republic of Iran with reliance on its religious and ethical teachings and political and defensive doctrine is opposed to any terrorist action under any title and excuse. We consider ourselves as being in the frontline of defense of any oppressed people wherever in the world and the fight against religious, ethnic and racial fanaticism and violence. An example of such a determining role is our fight with terrorists and Takfiri groups in Iraq and Syria and sending humanitarian aid for the oppressed people of Yemen.
In this respect, the Islamic Republic of Iran as in the past expresses its serious opposition to the production, stockpile and development of weapons of mass destruction including atomic bombs. My country stands ready to cordially cooperate with all countries especially the Asian countries to move towards a world free of violence and extremism and weapons of mass destruction.
In economic areas, our continent faces a lot of problems despite enjoying abundant capacities in all sectors. Poverty and inequality emerging from underdevelopment in many parts of Asia can be partly blamed on old colonialism and the failure of some government and international organizations and financial institutes to cooperate. Poverty and inequality have further broadened the gap between the rich and the poor and have left dangerous impacts on the life of people particularly in terms of humanitarian crisis and security challenges.
Therefore, I propose we study the possibility of the formation of a fund to fight poverty in Asia and/or a bank for development and investment in Asia. To this end, we can have more organized cooperation to exploit our own economic capacities including in the energy sector which can directly bring about economic growth and alleviate poverty.
We cannot forget environmental and ecological problems, natural disasters, communicable diseases and the low level of public health, as well as the expansion of the production and distribution of illegal drugs and impediments of sustainable development which have infected many Asian countries. It seems necessary for us to forge purposeful and effective preparedness and cooperation among Asian states for the prevention of and confrontation with such dangers as climate change, dust particles, vast draught and destructive storms and quakes such as the recent earthquake in Nepal which claimed the lives of many people. My country the Islamic Republic of Iran has valuable experience and expertise in fighting these dangers and is prepared to fulfill its human and religious obligation to help the humankind in dealing with such crises.
In this respect, it is necessary to promote human rights and dignity in Asia despite the fact that today human rights are being used as a political tool to impose double standards by big powers who are themselves biggest offenders of human rights. This is against human rights aspirations. The will and determination among Asian states to respect and promote human rights and dignity and combat religious, ethnic and gender discrimination while preserving cultural diversity can prevent big powers to misuse noble principles such as human rights for political purposes.
Preventing and fighting all such problems and crises in Asia are tied to more convergence among nations and states and the strengthening of proper solutions to attain an Asian order. To accomplish this, we need to feel responsible and assume more effective roles particularly for the big countries of our ancient continent such as China as the host and rotating president of this conference and other countries such as my country the Islamic Republic of Iran which follows up and promotes such regional procedures as an effective, peaceful and participatory country.
Here, the optimum use of non-governmental capacities for the resolution of crises and alleviation of challenges attracts greater significance. In many sectors, non-governmental mechanisms can perform more effective even than official and governmental entities with reliance on cultural and civilization commonalities among Asian countries to combat new challenges and crises.
In conclusion, I hope Asia could turn to the role model of peace and security in the near future with the preservation of dignity and life for all humans from any race, ethnicity, religion, gender and pattern, as the Almighty God has said in the holy Quran, all humans shall enjoy sublime dignity and value, without any discrimination.