Human Rights, a Western concept: Authentic or illusive?

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I – Introduction

The end of the cold war has shaped a succession of uncertain events that aimed to identifying “a new world order". To this point, the single firmness is that the international community has gone into a period of a remarkable global transition that has caused more social problems than solutions. The end of the super-power challenge, the growing disproportion in wealth and the access to resources, correspond with a worrying increase in violence, poverty and unemployment. This atmosphere of change raises new challenges to our continuing search of universal human rights. How can human rights resolve its differences with “the conflict of cultures” that has come to represent the current world? Cultural background is one of the major sources of identity. The latter is considered as a symbol of self-definition and expression. As cultures interact, cultural identities change. This itinerary can be inspiring, but it is also disorienting. The current uncertainty of cultural identity translates the basic changes in how a human defines and expresses who he is today. Some questions and concerns remain inevitable in this manner as they highlight the debate over universal human rights and cultural relativism (“a concept that refers to the fact that what is regarded as true, valued, or expected in one social system may not be so in another”): How can universal human rights exist in a culturally diverse world? Is a global culture unavoidable? If this is the case, is the world prepared for it? Many eastern point of views have argued that the “request” for the global recognition of human rights symbolizes the imposition of Western principles and values on other civilizations. For instance, the censorship of the press may be more tolerable in eastern societies (such as the Middle East region) because of its bigger emphasis on discipline and order. Hence, what validity is there to the argument that human rights are a western imposition? Are...
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