The concept of human rights is an attractive contribution of Western civilizations. The idea was developed by enlightened philosophers and implemented by America on a grand scale and has generated broader support worldwide. After the Second World War, the start of the cold war did jeopardize the emergence of United Nations human rights regime. Both the super powers had veto power, and did not allow the human right regime of United Nations to prosper. Since 1990s, people from around the world has increased their demand of paying more attention to the human rights. The appeal of the idea is continuously growing, and human right issue is providing America a pretext to invade the countries at will.
During the cold war, world was divided into two blocks, and none had access to the countries of the opposite block. Issues of human rights were not allowed to come up especially by the communist block due to Western and American alleged violation of human rights in communist regimes. Due to high tension prevailing between the two superpowers, America gave a cursory touch to the issue of human rights in Russia and allied countries. America and her allies always claimed to be the champion of human rights and democracy and Russian block did not find a point to point at them about the violation of human rights. Bigger issues of nuclear weapons and placing of nuclear missiles so as to target the interest of each other, dominated the world discussions during the cold war era. From 1970s onward, numbers of agencies monitoring the human rights violation increased in large numbers and the issue got more attention. Events in central Europe in 1980s gave considerable attention to the issue of human rights. Fall of communist regimes in Central Europe created a domino effect and reforms in the central Europe gave voice to the other countries of the world for the similar reforms. It freed the states in the West and Japan to pursue human rights matters as the security threat from their main adversary had diminished.
Western thinkers advocated for decades the difference between the moralities at international level to that of the morality at national or individual level. During the cold war era, governments did not have the extravagance of promoting individual human rights abroad on an equal basis as at home. It was not possible to ensure the provision of basic human right in the entire world due to risks involved to national security and was thus morally irresponsible and politically impossible. However, end of the cold war, the arguments of morally irresponsible and politically impossible lost the appeal. Western powers got more flexibility to maneuver on account of human rights abroad without putting their own national security at risk. From thereon, it became easy for American and Western powers to implement the morality at intra-national context as conceived by them at international context.
Emphasis on human rights as a policy still needs to be implemented by many countries. Japan is not interested to affect its economic run at the cost of issue of human rights. Rise of religious fundamentalist in number of countries has put the debate about the extent of religious freedom as compared to the individual freedom. United Nations role in propagating the human rights issues has not been very encouraging. America has been propagating the issue of human rights in different countries basing on her interest in the area and has helped fueling the insurgencies fighting against the human rights violations especially in the Middle East.
Forsythe, David P. Human Rights in a Post-Cold War World, pp 1-15. Available at file:///C:/Users/Anonymous/Downloads/UP149.001.00030.00007.archival.pdf (Last accessed May 21, 2014.