Panel Discussion Report 61: Can we truly say that human rights are universal?

1. Overview of the point Discussed

Our Moderator Muktar Abdillahi started the panel discussion with the introductory session whereby, he mentioned that Human rights are considered to be universal by some while some others oppose to this statement. Also He mentioned that each and every human being is capable enough to get their rights. He did not forget to mention the importance of United Nations and other organizations in preserving or ensuring those rights to human beings around this globe. Second speeker Afshan Khan from India played a role as the representative from UN I talked about the commonalities of human being. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status is. All are equally entitled to human rights without any discrimination. She also mentioned that, these rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Culture is the only issue which make some conflicts about Universal Human Rights. UN is trying to organize some awareness programs to overcome these problems from a community. She concluded her points by saying that, there will be changes happening in the implementation process.

Secondly Erke Ayim from Kyrgyzstan ell, as a philosopher she believes that rights and values are limited to cultural perspectives, It means there is no universal culture; therefore there are no universal human rights. In her opinion Human Rights concept is founded on an individualistic view of specific people so, it is only applicable into those individuals’ respective places only. She mentioned that some religious leaders argue that human rights can only be acceptable if they are founded .on values of their faith, sanctioned by God. The Universal Declaration claims no such heritage. There is a built-in conflict between the universality of human rights and the particularity of religious perspectives. At the end she insisted on saying that, human rights cannot be universal as it’s subjected to different ethic faith cultural perceptions. Khalid khan was the third speaker who played the role as a Human rights activist. His discussion mainly focused on “Biasness of human aids throughout the globe”. He spoke about some developing countries in which the human right Aids are not distributed equally. He also gave example of Syria and Afghanistan, in these two countries the opposition side get less aid from UN while the government get a large amount which is unfair and totally biased. In his view point, he was on a stand that UN is being biased in forming and implementing the human rights.

Lastly I had to speak on the stand that “Human Rights are Universal” as I was playing the role of a of social science professor. My first point was the definition of human rights which says Human Rights are Universal. I also mentioned the basic elements of human rights like, recognition, dignity, safety, equality and the fundamental needs. Cultures can be flexible so that, we can make slight positive changes in them to protect the rights of the majority in this world. The rights are universal and general, the choice is given for each of us under the rights. Indigenous people’s rights have been protected in certain countries nowadays. So, the culture is also being taken into consideration in the Universal human rights declaration. If a country follows its own rights based on their majority culture, minorities’ will be effected. To prevent those kinds of issues Universality is important. My last point was rights based on culture are smaller in number comparing to the rights based on the general issues.

2. The process

The way we planned our panel discussion took place in our class. We had to choose the moderator who could do his best in making this discussion natural. After some time of discussion between us we choose Muktar Abdilaahi as the moderator and we choose the topic which is very interesting “can we truly say that human rights are universal”. We finalised the roles of each and every panellists. Than we worked on writing the Panel discussion proposal. During the first discussion there were some little difficulties in choosing the moderator, but finally we managed to do it without any kind of hurt feelings. The most important part for me was the second gathering, whereby I could not get the actual meaning of my part and asked for the definition from others. I was helped by all my group mates in understanding my role.

3. The Implementation

The strength of our panel discussion is the topic itself. We tried our best to choose a topic which will be interesting and argumentative typed. I believe that it made the discussion to a clear cut. Our group was a successful group consisting people who have different mind set about this issue. All were helpful to each other. I was really interested and satisfied with the role of our moderator. We had a successful rehearsal session before did the real panel discussion. The negative issue is that, I felt that I must have prepared more for the panel discussion and also I felt that my points were not really strong enough to explain my topic

4. Learning/Reflection of the Panel Discussion

I learnt a lot through this Panel discussion as my group mates were supportive to me. I could not really do well during the pre panel discussion and they encouraged me saying that I can do it. Peer help is always necessary in any part of an assignment. I was given with a question, if we say that Human Rights can conceptually be considered universal with respect to the notion of globalization, in which context do you think Human Rights are universal? I hope that, I managed to answer it with all my points.

As we have only studied this as a subject it was beneficial to us in understanding the issue from different angles. I was really happy that at least I managed to express my points with my own words. One more thing is that, I was expecting question from audience and none of them raised a question to me. If I was given with a question I would have tried my best to answer it from my point of view.

5. Conclusion

We managed it really well as this topic was already introduced to us during our class. There was no conclusion saying that human rights are universal or no they are not universal. The panel discussion ended up with the saying that it is an argumentative issue whereby we cannot say that they are universal or not universal either.

References Franck, T. M. (2001). THE RISE OF CULTURAL EXCEPTIONALISM. Forein Affairs , 2. Retrieved from. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/56666/thomas-m-franck/are-human-rights-universal

Human Rights Awareness. (1999). ARE HUMAN RIGHTS TRULY UNIVERSAL. Human Rights Awareness, 5.Retrieved from. http://www.hrawareness.org/universal.html.

Khan, R. (2009). Are Human Rights Truly Universal . Aljazeera, 4. Retrieved from. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/rizkhan/2009/12/20091210145913553659.html.

Tharoor, S. (1999/2000). Are Human Rights Universal? – World Policy Journal – World Policy Institute. WORLD POLICY JOURNAL, 4. Retrieved from. http://www.worldpolicy.org/tharoor.html.

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