The Relationship Between a Commitment to Universal Children's Rights and Recognition of Cultural Differences in Child-Rearing Practices

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The Relationship Between a Commitment to Universal Children's Rights and Recognition of Cultural Differences in Child-Rearing Practices

The relationship between a commitment to universal children's rights and a recognition of cultural differences in child-rearing practices has been an issue of debate for over sixty years. International documents attempt to perform the dual roles of both upholding the legitimacy of cultural differences whilst simultaneously attempting to institute a universalised norm or standard. In order to do this they must battle divergences not just of definition, but also between various ideologies in such a manner that reconciles concepts of 'otherness'. Cultural differences
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Such debate suggests that a recognition of cultural differences could only come into relation with 'universal' principles in a tenuous and difficult manner at best, if at all. At all levels of society, be it structural, economic, religious or political, there remain cultural differences that have proven to influence human rights conceptions in a manner which makes it difficult to apply any universal rule.

For example, whilst at a structural level the modern changes of developing societies, such as the growth of the middle class in Asia, has brought a certain convergence in human rights perceptions with the developed West, the dialogue that has evolved also demonstrates a great divergence of such perceptions (Milner, ed., 1993: 25).

The United Nations Charter itself implicitly stresses the validity of different cultural approaches, even so the Vienna Declaration, adopted by the Second World Conference on Human Rights, states:

"While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of the States, regardless of their political, economic, and cultural systems to promote and protect all human

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