Universal Human Rights Law Needs Essay

1326 Words Jan 27th, 2015 null Page
This essay asks us whether universal human rights law needs to be understood within local contexts in order to be effective. Simply put the answer is no. In fact, the opposite is true. Local context, culture to be more specific, needs to be understood in respect of universal human rights law. Gone are the days of isolated societies acting with impunity under their own laws subject to no scrutiny. Today’s world is one where borders are porous, people are connected via television and the Internet, and nations are increasingly held accountable for the way they treat their citizens. State sovereignty no longer reigns supreme over the rights and dignity of the individual. Universal human rights by its very definition imply rights that are applicable to everyone everywhere, hence the term ‘universal.’ As the authors point out in International Human Rights in Context, “[s]imply put, the partisans of universality claim that international human rights…are and must be the same everywhere” (Steiner 517). The right is universal or it isn’t – there is no gray area. When the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 it declared in no uncertain terms that “the inherent dignity and…equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family [are] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” (UDHR preamble). According to the United Nations “[t]oday, all United Nations member States have ratified at least one of the nine core…

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