Universalism And Human Rights Essay

1449 words - 6 pages

Jeffrey Rabinowitz
International Relations
12-5-2008 {draw:frame} {draw:frame} {draw:frame} Introduction What are Human Rights The rise of Human rights and entry into International Law The Concept of Universalism Universalism and Human Rights The Concept of Cultural Relativism Cultural Relativism and Human Rights *Hypocrisy and misuse *of Universalism My Theory on Human Rights 10.Conclusion Introduction The International protection of Human Rights has been the root of much heated debate in the past century. Scholars from western nations often argue that Human Rights are universal, and that the West should play its part to ensure ...view middle of the document...

Similar to America’s consideration of Human Rights in its foreign policy decisions, other nations also take human rights into account when dealing with one another. An additional idea, which will be discussed in greater detail later in this paper, is that American foreign policy decisions, and the integrity with which they are made, also impacts how various foreign nations view and interact with the United States, which in turn, affects the U.S sphere of influence and its associated soft power. In this paper, I will discuss many issues. The purpose of this paragraph is to serve as the literary glue that ties them all together by providing a roadmap for navigation, as well as the narrowing of a thesis. In the first part of this paper, I will discuss exactly what is meant by the term “Human Rights” along with the rise of Human Rights protection, and its eventual entry into international law. I will then proceed to juxtapose Universalism and Cultural Relativism. What implications do the concepts of Universalism and Cultural Relativism have for the future of Human Rights? In the third part of this paper, I will explain why Universalism is hypocritical, and how it has been misused in the past. The point I hope to eventually communicate is that, although both concepts are extremely rigid and simplistic, Universalism is not the answer to bettering the world and has been misused by the United States government as a marketing tactic to enhance American self-interest. Background of Human Rights+ Rise to International Law Human Rights are “international norms that help to protect all people from severe political, legal and social abuses.” Human Rights are entitlements that a person possesses simply because he or she is a human being. They cannot be lost or forfeited. These rights are not at all subject to race, sex, age, nationality or place of birth. Instead, they are the most basic rights that are internationally applicable to all the world’s people. Although the history of human rights covers thousands of years, the precursors of modern human rights law can be traced back to the British Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the U.S Bill of Rights, all of which were written in relatively recent history. The British Bill of Rights, written in 1689, made illegal several oppressive actions by the government of the United Kingdom. The doctrine states that citizens of the United Kingdom are entitled to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, an independent [of the sovereign] judiciary, freedom from taxation without agreement from parliament, as well as to several other basic rights. Some rights granted by the Bill, however, were subject to specific economic, religious, or social groups, such as the right for only Protestants to bear arms. A century later, Human Rights took a giant leap forward, with the passing of the “French Declaration of the Rights of Man” during the French Revolution. The document was the...

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