Well said. Just the additional note that the right to enjoy and participate in one's culture is itself a human right (that is, of course, to be trumped by those inconsistent rights that we can agree are more fundamental (i.e. we cannot recognize a "right" to a "culture" that perpetuates torture). It sounds like what some earlier commentators are getting at, though, is that "human rights" truly ARE universal, not western, not eastern, but sometimes get distorted as such either from outside or within a "culture". I heartily agree with Nezha's and Devika's analysis. That is why human rights training and education must begin to separate the values and rights we should all strive for from the rhetorical use of those rights by politicians and other powerful interests. I think that one way to counteract the problem of identifying American imperialism with human rights talk is to work to hold the US accountable for fulfilling its "own" rights standards. Nezha is right that many of the concepts found in the UDHR can also be found in Asian, African, European, and Latin American cultural, religious, and political traditions. What might happen if critics from outside the US truly applied the UDHR to the US' own actions? No real "solution" except that as many voices as possible must be "at the table" and be able to interpret and embrace their rights where they might previously have been silenced (i.e., women and girls, the poor, racial/ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities...). Peace, Hope "...be the change you want in the world."--Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963 Hope Lewis Professor of Law Northeastern University School of Law 400 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115 617-373-8961 See proceedings of an "expert consultation" on economic and social rights at my SSRN site: http://ssrn.com/author=56058 Subscribe to "Human Rights & the Global Economy" electronic abstract journal through the Legal Scholarship Network at SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/subscriptionforms/mainmenu.htm To learn more or to submit, go to http://www.ssrn.com/ On 31 January 2007, Shulamith Koenig wrote: All cultures, religions and groups etc., etc. stand to get richer if and when communities world wide will attend to their societal development understanding human rights as a way of life. The political moral and legal implications, indeed, transcend all cultures and view points. Human rights provide all women, men, youth and CHILDREN a guiding framework to find and safely anchor their lives in this troubled world, becoming creative and committed agents of change (after all, good learning is a process of internalizing the knowledge we gain; to make it our own). Unless we understand the holistic vision of ham rights as a way of life and what it holds in it for ALL humanity we cannot be human rights educators, as I firmly believe after almost 20 years in the filed that all people in the world want to belong in community in dignity with others. We have no other option and it is a very positive one!! Dignity is not just a word to be articulated by prophets but a very meaningful notion, away from humiliation, that is very well encoded in the many Covenants and Conventions, ascribed through norms and standards to overcome oppressive orders such as patriarchalism -- a word invented by Betty Reardon -- and struggle for equality and lack of discrimination...no cultural compromises. ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======= Send mail intended for the list to < >. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/ **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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