- Accept different definitions of what it means for human rights to be described as universal.
- Be on the lookout for varying perspectives.
- Establish the authority that the doctrines of human rights have acquired.
- Debate on whether such authority is deserved.
- Delve into whether an universally acceptable package of human rights can be developed
- Seek for vested interests in the universal human rights
- Finally, review the discussed points and giver a verdict.
- The universal human rights are contained in a declaration that was adopted by all countries in 1948.
Its creation was motivated by the experiences of the two world wars. To be universal implies that these human rights are inalienable and are meant to be enjoyed by every individual irrespective of who they are, or where they reside. The doctrines of human rights have acquired a lot of authority since their inception. Human rights existed even before the signing of the declaration in 1948 (Gibney & Sigrun 56). However, after their internationalization of human rights, there has been concern that state sovereignty is not immune from external intervention anymore. This exposes a conflict in the form of the relationship between the sovereign rights of states and human. As such, the United Nations can implement an armed intervention to safeguard human rights in instances where there is a gross violation. This is in direct contravention of the fundamental principle of national sovereignty, a principle that historically underpinned international relations. As a result, States are no longer exempted from international intervention when they infringe on human rights. Additionally, territorially based minorities within states can secede into self-rule when their human rights are grossly violated. States would argue that such powers are not deserved because they infringe on the principles of national sovereignty. In 1999, the United Nations bombed Serbia in order to avert protracted genocide in Kosovo. Later in 2008 the province declared independence from Serbia. This is a good example of the conflict between sovereignty and human rights.
- Universal human rights are to be enjoyed by every individual, whoever they are and where they live notwithstanding. However, it is arguable that the doctrines of human rights are not applicable cross-nationally and that they are subject to place and time. A good example can be found in Canada where the collective rights of the Quebecois and the aboriginals are recognized but the same treatment is not extended to immigrant Canadians. In the context of increased terrorism, the application of the doctrines of universal human rights is becoming increasingly constrained. Collective rights are increasingly accommodating individualism, but only when any accomplishments reflect collective interests as opposed to personal gain. A good example is the war n terror. Many civilian were killed and maimed when the United States of America invaded the Afghanistan.
This was in pursuit of collective rights in the pursuit of a world free of terrorism. After the September eleven attacks on the United States of America governments are hard pressed to balance the increase of collective rights to a safe environment and the restrictions imposed on individual rights due to suspected terrorism. It is because of this that suspected terrorists are arbitrarily detained in Guantanamo bay prison indefinitely. It has been argued that it is not possible for a truly universal doctrine of human rights. A number of arguments are floated across as the reasons. Firstly, the concept is seen as a threat to culture because it is seen as an excuse to ignore the responsibilities and duties embedded within customary practices. For human rights to be universal they have to be intolerable to any cultural exceptions that transcend the specifics of any society. This means that inhuman practices and torture cannot be excused by referencing culture or religion. Given this and the fact that torture is an accepted method of interrogation is some circles, it is safe to state that human rights are not universal (Fleras & Jean 350).
Fleras, Augie, and Jean L. Elliott. Unequal Relations: An Introduction to Race, Ethnic, and Aboriginal Dynamics in Canada. Toronto, ON: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
Gibney, Mark, and Sigrun Skogly. Universal Human Rights and Extraterritorial Obligations. Philadelphia, Pa: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. Print.