1. Identify the three fundamental characteristics of human rights. Discuss the ways in which these three characteristics can advance the global human rights agenda or significantly undermine the global human rights agenda.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), human rights “are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination”. The three fundamental characteristics of human rights are universal, inalienable, and indivisible. Human rights are universal because they apply to every human being regardless of their origin, economic or social status, and religion, among others. Inalienable refers to rights that once are given to a person cannot be taken away. And human rights are indivisible meaning either all rights are given or none of them. In other words, human being have to have all their rights, not just a few of them (all or nothing), since “the improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others”.
The three fundamental characteristics of human rights, universal, inalienable, and indivisible, can advance or undermined the global human rights agenda. One way in which these characteristic can undermined the global human rights agenda is through Cultural Relativism. According to Diana Ayton-Shenker, cultural relativism is “assertion that human values, far from being universal, vary a great deal according to different cultural perspectives” . In other words, for a cultural relativist, universal human rights basically does not mean anything since depending on the culture that you belong, your rights would be different. This significantly undermined the global human rights agenda because individual’s rights could be violated. For instance, Shenker uses the example of slavery; in some culture the practices of slavery might be acceptable culturally, but at the international level it is illegal because it is violating the rights to which every individual is entitled to.
On the other hand, global human rights agenda can advance in Cultural Pluralism because individuals of different classes and cultural values recognized each other differences and coexist with relatively no conflict. According to Shenker, “this approach not only encourages greater tolerance, mutual respect and understanding, but also fosters more effective international cooperation for human rights”. Basically, cultural pluralism offers a balance between an individual traditions and believes and the respect for universal human rights.
2. The Kyoto Protocol.
I. What is the Kyoto Protocol?
In 1972 at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, the main topic of discussion was the environmental challenges that the world was facing....