Establishing universal Rights

Cultural relativism, Equity, Universal Rights -

Establishing universal Rights

How can human rights be protected and enforced by the international community when there is no consensus on the application or meaning of such rights?

The majority of cultures acknowledge some form of rights. There would not exist a Universal Declaration of Human Rights ratified by members of the United Nations General Assembly otherwise [1]. Why then is there no consensus on these rights and what they mean or what they are? The reason consensus has not been reached is that there is no evidence within a particular society a given right universally applies. Without evidence proving necessity, then it becomes acceptable for culture or state to railroad rights [2]. When evidence is presented acknowledging a right is beneficial to each person in a society, and violating it does more harm than good, then protection and enforcement of rights naturally follow.

To find an equitable solution to this problem a standard must be established devoid a single cultural perspective or morality. The only way non-bias equity can be achieved is through the comparison of data found within a standard of living. Meaning, an objective measurement of certain human accomplishments and liberties showing tangible results in quantifiable indexes, such as: gross domestic product, personal satisfaction, economic mobility, infant mortality, and household income. An example of this is seen when women have an equal share within a country, it correlates to an increase in human capital and income per capita, which bolsters a nation’s economy [3]. This demonstrates a statically valid circumstance for the value of human rights. Additional research needs to be done on other rights to demonstrate the benefits they may present to society and how they increase the well-being for rank-and-file members.

Human rights exist, they are universal, and they are objectively provable. The concept of rights is not abstract or relative, it is instead a concrete and very real thing. It translates into how each human treats one another, and the quality of lives each individual in turn experiences. Life is finite and should be treated as such.



[1] Patricia J. Campbell, Aran S. MacKinnon and Christy Stevens, An Introduction to Global Studies (Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell. eBook Collection. EBSCOhost. 2010).

[2] Kim, Eun-jung Katherine. Justifying Human Rights: Does Consensus Matter? Human Rights Review 13, no. 3. 2012: 261-78

[3] Doepke, Matthias. Tertilt, Michele. Voena, Alessandra. The Economics and Politics of Women’s Rights. Theoretical Research in Development Economics. 2011.

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