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Are Human Rights a Western Imposition - Essay Example

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All human beings are equal and have inalienable rights by virtue of being human beings. These include right to life, liberty, equal protection of the law, freedom of association and right to non-discrimination among others. …
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Are Human Rights a Western Imposition
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Are Human Rights a Western Imposition

Download file to see previous pages... It is true that the idea of human rights originated from the west. According to Mohr and Tsedroen human rights were a result of European enlightenment thinking. However, the question that we need to ask ourselves is does the origin matter? There are many other advancements that emanated from the west such as technology and industry but have not experienced rejection since they are viewed as essential for development. Just as these developments are essential so are human rights and we cannot deny that all human beings deserve better living standards in form of food, shelter, health and education and that individuals also require to associate with others in the society for development to be realised. Some would argue that by the time the UN declaration on human rights was affirmed, many nations were not members of the UN especially those from Africa. In fact according to Morsink when the UN charter was founded in 1945 and the process began of formulating the international bill of rights, only 58 nations constituted the UN. As such, most nations did not participate in the process and in this regard, human rights may be seen as a western imposition especially so because most of the members were western nations. To be members of the UN nations had to be sovereign and in most cases African nations were still under colonial rule and could not participate. The bill of rights which was later accepted as human rights was aimed at protecting human rights as part of conditions for peace and end of the war (World War II) and to promote social progress and better standards of life (p. 1). On the other hand, though most nations did not participate in formulating the bill of rights by their accepting and affirming the UN declaration of human rights and implementing them in their own countries, this proves that human rights are universal. Everyone needs freedom to associate, equal treatment in the eyes of the law, protection from torture and slavery. Another argument in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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