'universal Human Rights Are A Fiction Devised By The West In Order To Legitimise Intervention In Other Areas Of The World.' Discuss.

3182 words - 13 pages

In order for one to answer the above question it is critical of course to establish the meanings of the terminology involved and the stage around which these meanings operate. Our modern perception of human rights and humanitarian intervention are of course open to wide-ranging interpretation and as such it is important to understand from the outset that some individuals, groups and states will consider some meanings more appropriate in describing their own position than others. Firstly, the definition of Human Rights is commonly accepted to be the rights that all persons are entitled to, regardless of the state in which they reside or the situation they find themselves born in to, concepts clearly summed up in a legal format by the UN'sUniversal Declaration of Human Rights. The key concepts around which an acceptable consensus can probably be drawn are that all individuals are entitled to freedom and equality, that no prejudice should be borne against anyone regardless of race, gender, religion, culture etc and that everyone has the right to life and not be subject to torture or cruelty or wrongful detainment. Although one could assume that these basic rights are inalienable to all members of humanity it is often the case that these very rights are regularly under threat, with the rights to life and the freedom from persecution and wrongful detainment probably arising as the most prevalent in the argument supporting humanitarian intervention. Therefore, to proceed further it is essential for one to also define Humanitarian Intervention itself, something I believe is best summed up by Sean Murphy's legal interpretation that it is the -"Threat or use of force by a state, group of states, or international organization primarily for the purpose of protecting the nationals of the target state from widespread deprivations of internationally recognized human rights"Although I have already described the two definitions above there is the additional issue of which form of human rights require external intervention and those that don't. It is generally accepted that negative rights, those that exist and should not be inhibited by a state (freedom, equality etc), are the most fundamental rights and are the ones which require the greatest need for external intervention. However, what also has to be considered is the more divisive argument for positive human rights, those that arise from a Western school of thought in which the state is expected to intervene in the affairs of its citizens to make provisions for welfare, education and other forms of social requirements. If one were to advocate that intervention was required in both positive and negative human rights, then I think that neither the UN nor any individual nation within it would be capable of intervening in every area where positive rights were not being implemented. Hence therefore one is likely to agree with the presented and coherent argument that it is infringement upon basic/negative human...

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