Laksshini Sundaramoorthy

While human rights is not a universal concept, its construction as a form of Western cultural imperialism represents an unfounded and inaccurate reading of civilisation. The idea of human rights as an entitlement of every human being, with an unqualified universal scope, is somewhat unattainable as variations in conceptions of justice are inevitable. However, the assertion that human rights are imposed by the West and would otherwise hold no resonance in non-Western societies, overstates the uniqueness of human rights to Western culture. Rather, there is an ‘overlapping consensus’ in that the acceptance and recognition of human rights is not complete but partial. While its principles cannot possibly be applicable to all state priorities and behaviour, the general concept of justice, at a higher level of abstraction, transcends cultural boundaries and is not solely confined to Western society.

Is the idea of human rights a universal concept? (PDF file)

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