No Universal Definition Of Human Rights

763 words - 3 pages

In the minds of many people human rights are defined as a set of governmental Do’s and Don’ts that protect people from their governments in terms of the freedom of speech, assembly, etc. without infringement. Of course, most people would agree that these are fundamental rights and deserve to be upheld, however many feel that there are a set of universal human rights that can be used to secure the freedom of all people around the world. One such document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights written by the United Nations, claims to be the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. While I agree with most of the points made in the declaration, I simply do not believe that the human race is homogenous enough for a single piece of paper to encompass human rights issues for all cultures and types of people, and I find this very assumption to be problematic.

I believe that human rights are relative to every culture and/or nation, and should be left to the people to decide. I think that on the issue of human rights, people will not go wrong if they are allowed a fair forum for voicing their opinions and an equal manner in making decisions. Cruel and unusual punishment from a Western point-of-view may be an African tribe using neck braces to elongate the necks of women, whereas others may think the same of the death penalty in use in the United States. My personal experience of moving from Iran to the United States and witnessing many different atrocities in both cultures has led me to this view. For instance, in Iran there is no freedom of speech or assembly and any resistance to the government is smashed by imprisonment or oftentimes death. This is clearly a violation of human rights by most people, and if it were left up to the people of Iran (rather than forced upon them) it would not be present. But the people of Iran do not necessarily look upon the United States as the poster child of human rights in all respects either. There really is not much interpersonal violence in Iran (in other words, apart from the governmental abuses) and the people there would consider the right to bear arms in a society full of murder to be a human rights violation. I have learned (in my opinion) that there is no...

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