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Universal Declaration Of Human Rights Essay

1341 words - 5 pages

On December 10th in 1948, the general assembly adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration, although not legally binding, created “a common standard of achievement of all people and all nations…to promote respect for those rights and freedoms” (Goodhart, 379). However, many cultures assert that the human rights policies outlined in the declaration undermine cultural beliefs and practices. This assertion makes the search for universal human rights very difficult to achieve. I would like to focus on articles 3, 14 and 25 to address how these articles could be modified to incorporate cultural differences, without completely undermining the search for human rights practices.
Article 3, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states “everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person” (Goodhart, 379). This article creates cultural discrepancies that are rooted in interpreting undefined and ambiguous language. For example, there are cultural disputes concerning the definition of a “person”. In many monotheistic cultures abortion is considered a crime. Advocates of this opinion support that a fetus is a human being from conception. Under these pretenses it is the right of a fetus to live, and any women who commits abortion, regardless of the circumstances, is in violation of the fetus’s human rights. To eliminate this cultural disagreement, it is necessary to succinctly define the terms in the article. For example, the article could read: “every breathing human has the right to life, liberty and the security of a person”. Under these changes, the definition protects the life of all breathing human; eliminating the cultural discrepancy of what constitutes a life. In due course, the article would also make practices like the death penalty and sacrificial offerings violations of human rights. When alerting the international human rights policies, it is integral that the language used to create the articles is concise and defined; leaving no room for interpretation based on cultural differences.
Article 25, in the Declaration of Human Rights, states “every human has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Goodhart, 380). Article 25 could create disputes surrounding cultural structures, such as caste systems in India. Supporters of the caste system could argue that individuals are born into their positions and according to their beliefs are not entitled to a “specific” standard of living. However, I argue that when this cultural belief is applied to Article 25 it is a radical perspective. The provisions outlined in Article 25 allow for social classes and inequalities to occur. Therefore, the culturally ingrained caste systems in India can still function, as long as the lowest class is provided with a standard of living necessary to survive. I argue...

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