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Different cultures show same respect for human dignity
August 28,2014   By:China Daily

Sept. 22, 2011 -- Luo Haocai, president of China Society for Human Rights Studies, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the 4th Beijing Forum on Human Rights on Wednesday. The full text of his speech follows:

In September the clouds are thin and the sky is high in Beijing. In such a fine season, the 4th Beijing Forum on Human Rights, jointly sponsored by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development opens today. On behalf of the sponsors, I extend my warm welcome and sincere thanks to all friends who have come to attend this forum.

Since 2008, the Beijing Forum on Human Rights has convened three times. The forums held in-depth discussions on human rights and their development as well as security. Today we meet again and will focus on the topics of cultural traditions, values, human dignity and human rights. The objective of the forum is to promote development through dialogues and reach a consensus. We hope that this time the forum will produce practical results which respect cultural diversity and the various ideas on human rights. I would like to make a few remarks as an introduction to more of those valuable ideas.

1. To enhance mankind's happiness and dignity and build a solid foundation to protect human rights.

Man's dignity, by definition, is man's inherent nobility and stateliness, which are the essential qualities of being a person. From a historical perspective, the concept of dignity derives from man's reason and morality. In terms of content, dignity incorporates a generality and recognition of the importance of man's value, and the need to ensure equal treatment for everyone and oppose discrimination and unfair treatment. In other words, one should treat man as man.

Man's dignity is the basis on which man becomes a man and is the foundation where other ideas of human rights are based on. The realization of human rights is to safeguard human dignity. Recognizing and respecting human dignity is the theoretical point of departure and fundamental principle of international human rights laws and the basic opinion of the Chinese government.

The 1945 Charter of the United Nations stressed in its preamble the "faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person". The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights pointed out that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".

As the two most important human rights covenants of the United Nations, the 1966 International Covenant and Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights both reaffirmed in their preambles that basic human rights derive from the core values of human dignity, that is "recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person". The Vienna Declaration on Human Rights in 1993 clearly pointed out that "all human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person".

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