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Panel Discussion Report 8: Can we truly say that human rights are universal?

After having gone through a long, interesting and deep discussion we came up with some points. Here are a few of them:

  1. Women’s right

  2. What are Civil Society, NGOs and NPOs and so on?

  3. Human rights, are human rights progressing or regressing?

Majority panellists in our group disagreed to talk on topics, Women’s right, what are Civil Society, NGOs and NPOs, as they are very general and broad topics.

Finally, we have ended up talking on human rights. Our moderator Muktar has proposed to focus on specific area of human rights as this topic is also very broad topic. Finally, we have chosen our topic. It was: “can we truly say that human rights are universal?”

I was satisfied with this panel discussion, in my opinion, it was well-organized. The most amazing thing was that I had an opportunity to express myself, my feelings, opinions and thought in terms of women’s rights. One more that I want to highlight is the fact that our group was international. Usually, everybody rushes to create a group with their own country mates. However representatives of my panel discussion were from countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Somaliland, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The only problem we have had was gathering at one place and discuss. Other things went smoothly and nicely.

Each of us was given roles: Muktar Abdilaahi-The Moderator, Afshan Khan – UN representative: Commonalities of human being, Erkayim Kenzhetaeva – Philosopher: Values and rights are limited to cultural perspectives. Khalid Khan Wahidi – Human rights activist: Biasness of human aids throughout the globe, Jabeerdeen Fathima Rimsana – Professor of social science: Human Rights can conceptually be considered universal.

I am as a philosopher has been asked a question if I believed that the concept is founded on an individualistic view of people, whose greatest need, is to be free from state. Here is a summary what I have talked on this topic. I basically believe that rights and values are limited to cultural perspectives, which means that there is no universal culture; therefore there are no universal human rights.

I believe that the concept is founded on an individualistic view of specific people. For example how can women’s rights be universal in diversity of cultural practice, when in some societies marriage is seen not as a contract between two individuals but as an alliance between lineages?

In addition, 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.

Human rights cannot be universal as it’s subjected to different ethic faith cultural perceptions. Like for example, Muslim women in my country, Kyrgyzstan and other Muslim countries all over the world, have the right not to marry with non-Muslim under Muslim Personal Law.  However, within each culture are free to opt out and to assert their individual rights.

Well, there is a question: is a culture universal? The answer is no. As there is no universal culture that means there is no universal human rights, because every country can shape up their own rights according to their own culture.

Universal human rights do not impose one cultural standard, rather one legal standard of minimum protection necessary for human dignity.

Our points and states were clear, so that there were no questions. However, there was a positive comment on my speech that may be UN has declared Universal human rights in order to capture our mind, so that we will be shaped under one law and blindly follow, obey them.

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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