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human rights

Are human rights incontrovertible?
Universality is the belief that humans’ rights are universal and belong to everyone regardless of their race, culture, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexuality etc. whereas Incontrovertibility is the belief that human rights are absolute and innate. Philosophers criticize the claim of universality of human rights as it is based on natural law and is insensitive and ignorant towards cultural differences (Page 27, O’Byrne). The idea of human rights universality is that people are a part of community that is above their own political community and they subscribe to natural law that is superior to the national law of their state. These ideas depict abstract moral commitments that are rooted in classical philosophies and have no formalized status. The thought of natural law is contested/challenged because it’s assumed that certain rights exists before the formation of society, these rights are right and true in abstraction from people and they are grounded in higher spiritual and moral authority. Philosophers like Rawls, Bobbio and Regan believed that there is a bridge between universalism and realism. They rejected the natural law by separating it from essentialism but kept Kantanian universality of rights (Page 37, O’Byrne).
Apart from natural law the other claim/problem regarding universality is the problem of cultural differences. The criticism received implies that human rights are heavily biased by western values and ideas. Every religion and culture has their own set of beliefs and rights. It is believed that universality of rights is being used as way to replicate USA on a global scale. Origins of the universality are not in Locke’s natural law but are in modified Kantianism, that the respect for all people is based on universal dignity and that this doesn’t challenge the cultural diversity. Post modernist critique believes that this a dictatorial approach, values are abstract and opposes all forms of essentialism….

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