human rights and cultural relativism pdf

Human rights and cultural relativism pdf

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Can and Should Human Rights Be Universal?

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights come with the idea that human rights are all universal.

In its most extreme form, what we can call radical cultural relativism would hold that culture is the sole source of the validity of a moral right or rule. Radical universalism would hold that culture is irrelevant to the validity of moral rights or rules, which are universally valid. Universal human rights standards, however, serve as a check on potential excesses of relativism.

Can and Should Human Rights Be Universal?

In its most extreme form, what we can call radical cultural relativism would hold that culture is the sole source of the validity of a moral right or rule. Radical universalism would hold that culture is irrelevant to the validity of moral rights or rules, which are universally valid.

Universal human rights standards, however, serve as a check on potential excesses of relativism. At its furthest extreme, just short of radical relativism, strong cultural relativism would accept a few basic rights with virtual universal application, but allow such a wide range of variation for most rights that two entirely justifiable sets might overlap only slightly. Universality is initially presumed, but the relativity of human nature, communities, and rights serve as a check on potential excesses of universalism.

At its furthest extreme, just short of radical universalism, weak cultural relativism would recognize a comprehensive set of prima facie universal human rights, but allow occasional and strictly limited local variations and exceptions. We must be careful not to use merely quantitative measures of relativism; qualitative judgments of the significance of different cultural variations that must also be incorporated.

In a rough way, three hierarchical levels of variations can be distinguished involving cultural relativity in the substance of lists of human rights, in the interpretation of individual rights , and in the form in which particular rights are implemented. Even the range of variation in substance is set by the notions of human nature and dignity from which the list of rights derives.

Donnelly ultimately defends a weak cultural relativist position that permits deviations from universal human rights standards primarily at the level of form. The dangers of the moral imperialism implied by radical universalism need hardly be emphasized. Radical universalism is subject to other moral objections as well. Moral rules, including human rights, function within a moral community. Radical universalism requires a rigid hierarchical ordering of the multiple moral communities to which individuals and groups belong.

This complete denial of national and subnational ethical autonomy and self-determination is not acceptable. Even if the nation should prove to be a doomed, transitory stage in the development of human moral community, there is no inescapable logical or moral reason why peoples cannot accept or choose it as their principal form of social organization and the locus of important extrafamilial moral and political commitments.

Similar arguments might be made for other communities that do not encompass the entire human race. Once we allow the moral validity of such commitments, we are bound to accept at least certain types of substantive moral variability, including variability in human rights practices. Most important, it rests on the notion of self-determination. If human rights are based in human nature, on the simple fact that one is a human being, then how can human rights be relative in any fundamental way?

The simple answer is that human nature is in itself in some measure culturally relative. The effects of culture in shaping individuals are systematic and may lead to the predominance of distinctive social types in different cultures.

Whether we conceive of this process as involving cultural variation around an unalterable core or as cultural variation largely within a physiologically fixed range, there is a social side to human nature that cannot be denied, at least insofar as that nature is expressed. The cultural variability of human nature not only permits but requires significant allowance for cross-cultural variations in human rights. But if all rights rested solely on culturally determined social rules, as radical cultural relativism holds, there could be no human rights, no rights one has simply as a human being.

This denial of human rights is perfectly coherent and has been widely practiced. Nevertheless, it is morally indefensible today. Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,.

Relativity and Universality: A Necessary Tension The dangers of the moral imperialism implied by radical universalism need hardly be emphasized.

Concepts and Ideas

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In this article the author had given his view as to how the Human Rights are universal and upto which possible extent and also describe about two opposite view on UDHR Can human rights be universal and have respect for cultural relativism? Where after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home —so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory; farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity, without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have the meaning anywhere.

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The Western cultural construct of human rights provides inherent and inalienable rights to all, regardless of culture and tradition. These cultural traditions, such as Sharia law and female circumcision, challenge the cultural foundations of human rights by providing alternative means of understanding the individual and their role in the broader community. Thirdly, an examination of Sharia law and human rights will be undertaken, demonstrating how the Western construct of human rights clashes with the non-Western construct of Sharia limiting the application of human rights. Lastly, female circumcision will be used to demonstrate the complexities of individual rights, as established in human rights, and collective rights, as established in many traditional cultures. Human rights are a Western cultural construct.

Between global consensus and local deviation: a critical approach on the universality of human rights, regional human rights systems and cultural diversity. The global human rights regime, rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nurtures a relatively uncontroversial consensus when it comes to the core principles and ideals of individual dignity and equality that stem from International Human Rights Law. Nonetheless, despite the longstanding and well-known debate concerning universalism versus cultural relativism, there still exists a thin and rather complex line between the universality of human rights on the one hand, and the respect for local practices and traditions on the other hand. This tension is further translated into the coexistence and overlapping between the universal and the regional systems for the protection of human rights, notably because the latter reflects an attempt to strengthen the protection of basic rights while underlining regional characteristics and common values shared by certain States, as opposed to an overarching, central scheme accused of overlooking the features of each region.

Concepts and Ideas

To find out more about E-IR essay awards, click here. In recent decades, a widely contested debate over the universality of human rights has emerged. Rights are certainly not universally-applied today, with oppression, torture and various atrocities committed in many parts of the world. This paper will focus on the notion that both in the Third-World and the West, states have used human rights discussion as a political tool, which has weakened arguments for its universality. This perspective will be utilised to break down arguments made against universal human rights before presenting alternative conceptions of universal human rights and identifying developments which may ensure they can be universally applied and respected.

The Cross-Cultural Relationship is the idea that people from different cultures can have relationships that acknowledge, respect and begin to understand each others diverse lives. People with different backgrounds can help each other see possibilities that they never thought were there because of limitations, or cultural proscriptions, posed by their own traditions. Becoming aware of these new possibilities will ultimately change the people that are exposed to the new ideas. This cross-cultural relationship provides hope that new opportunities will be discovered but at the same time it is threatening. The threat is that once the relationship occurs, one can no longer claim that any single culture is the absolute truth. Using the perspective of cultural relativism leads to the view that no one culture is superior than another culture when compared to systems of morality, law, politics, etc. This is also based on the idea that there is no absolute standard of good or evil, therefore every decision and judgment of what is right and wrong is individually decided in each society.

Ethics, Human Rights and Culture

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Preoccupation with cultural relativism has until recently crowded out most other theoretical questions in the field of human rights theory; today globalization and other problems are receiving much more attention. The worry addressed here is that despite this timely broadening of the analytic focus we tend to view these new problems through the lens of cultural relativism. As a result, we are asking the wrong questions about globalization and human rights and looking for the wrong kinds of answer. This essay pleads for a critical reevaluation of contemporary approaches to globalization and human rights and proposes an alternative framework. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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  • Iair V. 20.11.2020 at 22:08

    Radical cultural relativism would hold that culture is the sole source of the validity of a moral right or rule. Radical universalism would hold that culture is irrelevant.

  • Major P. 21.11.2020 at 20:08

    This well-written and copiously researched volume will remain the standard work for years to come.

  • Bewintwinbio1981 25.11.2020 at 12:05

    PDF | On Apr 22, , John Ifediora published Universal Human Rights and Cultural Relativism: A Marriage of Inconvenience | Find, read and cite all the.

  • Indira S. 26.11.2020 at 14:24

    Cultural relativists challenge human-rights-related universalist assumptions in a variety of ways. Sometimes they do so by advancing what might be termed the.

  • Petra E. 27.11.2020 at 10:37

    for justifying human rights violations in the name of cultural 13 Ayodeji K. Perrin​, Human Rights and Cultural Relativism, The „Historical​bitstream///1/ (3 November ).


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