Universal Legal Principles Versus Group Rights Essay

1324 Words Apr 17th, 2016 null Page
The debate of whether to enforce universal human rights of individuals, set forth in documents such as the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), or to promote difference and recognize group rights, is as alive as ever in recent years thanks to intellectuals like Seyla Benhabib, Martha Nussbaum, Chandra Mohanty, Susan Okin Moller and Charles Taylor. The primary question behind the debate of universal legal principles versus group rights is whether or not a concept of universal justice exists. Benhabib and Nussbaum believe that it does, while Mohanty does not. The more convincing arguments are put forth by Benhabib, Nussbaum, and Okin who believe in universal principles of justice and also problematize, yet favor universalism over cultural relativism. Universal justice requires respect, morality and fairness, and the ability to distinguish a harmless cultural practice from one that puts an individual in physical danger, which is easier to determine than those practices which put individuals in psychological danger. Laws should ultimately defend universal legal principles, like those put forth in the UDHR, since they both recognize and allow for cultural practices and defend the human rights of individuals by providing a right of exit to those who do not want to take part in such practices. When confronting multicultural claims against universal laws, justice requires respect, morality and fairness, impartiality, consistency in deciding what is just,…

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