Sharia Law

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Bachelor thesis

International Human Rights in general

Subject
It is Article 1 of the UDHR, which emphasizes the aspect of human rights most intensely debated--their claim to universality. In its preamble, the Universal Declaration accentuates the global importance of human rights as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations" and as "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." As if to settle the matter once and for all, the Vienna Declaration states in its first paragraph that "the universal nature" of all human rights and fundamental freedoms is "beyond question". Yet, the universality of human rights is often questioned, more often by duty-bearers than rights-holders. Such skepticism does not often reflect frank conceptual objections to the challenge of universality, but is rather a means for some States to avoid giving effect to the whole set of human rights.

This cosmopolitan claim, though, has provoked the charge that such universalism only obscures the global dominance of a particular culture--the cultural imperialism of Western states.

Ultimately the validity of universal human rights is bound to be questioned in Islamic societies, which believe in the supremacy of cosmological theocentric revelation over human-centered reason. Whereas in the West, law has developed from and been modeled by society, Islamic law precedes and models society. Islam emphasizes duties not individual rights, however the UDHR presumes that individuals are the key unit of society. For example to quote Article 1, it proclaims that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," and the articles that follow guarantee individuals the rights to life, liberty, security, legal recognition, and freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile. They ensure rights to free speech, thought, and religion, to peaceful assembly, to marry one’s choice, to education, to free choice of employment, to rest and leisure, and...
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