Are Human Rights Universal? - Essay

Topics: Human rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 4 (1277 words) Published: July 30, 2012
The concept of Universal Human Rights is a fairly new conception in human history. Rights are not the same thing as social or cultural norms, which can be used to oppress minority interest and be fundamentally unfair to individuals. The beginnings of this concept can be traced back to the Enlightenment Era of the mid 17th through the 18th century. The formal international consensus of this idea did not take effect until after World War II, when the United Nations (U.N.) adapted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 1948 establishing an international standard of human rights. Although the majority of member nations of the U.N. agreed on this resolution, there where nations that argued against it. Thus the question still persist today, Are human rights universal? I believe that they are. Introduction

Humans use morals and ethics to determine “right” from “wrong” on an individual as well as a cultural basis. An individual belief of right and wrong is derived from life long experiences; and influenced by culture, religion, parents, schools, relationships, etc. Cultural beliefs of right and wrong are a consensus of those beliefs in a nation or region, which can, and do vary widely between different cultures. These concepts also vary over time periods, influenced by new technologies, new concepts, and new laws, as well as intercultural influences. People continue to debate the question of right and wrong, and disagreements still persist. It is the study of ethics and ethical theories that helps to understand our differences and gives some insight as to how to overcome those differences. However, as stated in Ethics & social Responsibility, by Kurt Mosser, “The study of ethics can be frustrating at times, largely because the problems ethics deals with rarely lead to a result with which everyone is satisfied”. This statement alone would seem to indicate that universal human rights could never be agreed upon (Mosser, 2010). HISTORY OF...

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