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An Analysis Of Human Rights

1087 words - 4 pages

Since the end of the Cold War, the discourse of human rights has been spreading increasingly in the whole world. This movement actually started after the end of World War II, but it has been growing on a larger scale in the last few decades. The reason that lies behind this human rights controversy is the occurrence of various violations to "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights". The Universal Declaration, proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, stated that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world". Yet, after proclaiming this declaration, that was supposed to be acknowledged by all countries, countless violations occurred and are still happening till this day. This proves that human rights can never be "universal". It is almost impossible to obtain a real consensus on moral statements from the whole world. In other words, we cannot simply transform morals that diverge worldwide into written ethics and assume they can be accepted by everyone. The world superpowers, mainly the United States and France, who started the human rights movement from the very beginning, were aware of this fact. Despite their awareness, they did so to serve their own benefits.Depending on religious backgrounds, personal beliefs and cultural values, people's moralities differ enormously from place to another. When the U.S. government tried to justify its wars in the Middle East, it gave "liberating Islamic women" as one of the reasons. It based its argument of the oppressed Muslim women, specifically in Afghanistan and Iraq, on the Universal Declaration. However, the declaration itself was based upon western perspectives. The "sufferers" in this case, whom their rights were meant to be preserved, did not have the right to be judged by their own beliefs. In fact, they did not even have the right to accept this "liberation". It turned out to be a process of stealing rights, not keeping them. It is clear that the U.S. used the human rights as an excuse to pursue its own political interests. The same accusation was taken against Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime, although Iraqi women had a better educational level than any other Arab country. They were the most equal in professions like medicine and engineering, and there were more women in Baghdad University back then than UC Berkeley during the same period.In her article "Human Rights and Moral Imperialism", Laura Nader describes the western regulated human rights issue as a "normative blindness - blindness that accompanies a modernization outlook and regards pre-modern cultures as a form of backwardness that needs to be overcome". It is a blindness for one's own flaws while criticizing others for them. Nader argues that a comparison is needed. She gives an example of a news article in the New York Times that noted that 25% of Syrian men beat their wives....

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