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Universality of Human Rights and Cultural Disparity - Essay Example

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While proponents support the concept’s ideology, opponents argue against it on the basis of cultural relativism and the apolitical nature of the campaign adopted in its advocacy. Perhaps the most pervasive argument against the universal nature of human rights is that of cultural diversity. This assertion is hinged on the assertion that since every nation or society has its distinctive cultural values, a universal approach to rights cannot be applied all around the world.
A key issue in the cultural disparity argument stems from the perception that the West differs significantly from other nations, on which it attempts to impose the idea of universal human rights. This notion is perpetuated by the fact that the UN Declaration of Human Rights was adopted when majority of Third World nations had not gained independence from the principally Western colonialists. Universality of rights is therefore perceived as cover for the West to intervene in developing countries’ affairs, while spreading its individualistic socio-cultural values in otherwise community-oriented societies. In further argument against universality, others posit that ongoing nation-building in developing countries cannot sustain individual-oriented human rights since it is a communal task. ...Show more
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The concept of universality in administration of human rights emerged in the 20th century, following signage of the UN Declaration of Human Rights by compliant member states. …
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