Hello Everybody: My thoughts on the issue of culture and human rights is that some "cultures" are constant or at least some groups choose to hold on to what they have come to identify as their "culture". "Culture", even, those which the rest of the world may view as "negative" culture usually persists because its practice benefits some who are powerful. Hence although "culture" is expected to be dynamic, these powerful people, albeit, usually small in number, fight to keep certain cultural practices constant. I understand "culture" to be a practice that is started by an individual and transfers to a group that accepts and continues it as ritual until it becomes institutionalized as tradition. Traditional practices, over time, become accepted as culture and vice-versa. More importantly, to accept that the UDHR was based on the needs of people everywhere leaves me with questions. This is because some "cultures" were deemed to have been lesser at the time of the development of the UDHR and were, therefore, absent from the table. While those powerfully dominant groups may have thought they were formulating a document that contained "universal" values, others may interpret the contents of this foundation document as counter-culture. The word " hegemony" (of ideas) springs to mind when the issue of universality of interpretation and application come up for groups of people such as those students who reject the dictates of the UDHR. Whether these values were discussed by Plato or not, whether they are the basis of all religions and whether they have inspired revolutions, the issue still remains for me: is the UDHR really universal in its interpretation and application given today's socio-political and economic realities? I believe questioning the values espoused by the UDHR is proof that education is a positive force and is reaching communities of people whose issues were, perhaps not given the attention it deserved at the beginning. *************************************** Regina Thompson Mediator Ontario Human Rights Commission 180 Dundas Street West, 7th Floor Toronto, ON M7A 2R9 Tel: 416-314-3566 TTYL416-314-6526/1-800-308-5561 Fax: 416-212-4072 E-Mail: < > ======== 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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