Defining Universal Human Rights
Many classic documents guide and reinforce human rights laws, policies, and practices around the world. The first document to address global human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, emerged in the aftermath of atrocities committed during World War II. Many nations adopted its protocols after it was endorsed by the United Nations in December 1948. It continues today, as the basis for the development of international treaties, national laws, and global institutions that protect and promote human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other classic documents that attempt to define universal human rights are products of Western culture. As such, they are subject to scrutiny for Western bias. For example, Western ideals such as freedom of speech may be promoted in the Western world as an absolute right but firmly rejected in non-Western nations as frivolous and non- essential. The question of which human rights documents are universally applicable is also a subject of considerable debate.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” “The Economic Bill of Rights,” and “Bill of Rights.” Pay attention to the rights and freedoms described in these classic documents.
- Search the Internet for additional classic documents and review rights and freedoms described in each.
- Select one classic document to use for this Discussion.
- Take note of elements that suggest Western bias in the selected document. Consider whether the document you selected is or is not universally applicable.
With these thoughts in mind:
Due by Thursday January 11, 2018, a 500-word brief description of the classic document you selected. Explain how the document does and/or does not reflect a bias toward Western values. Then explain whether the document is or is not universally applicable and why.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.