The free and equal in dignity and rights.

The United
Nations is the main international organization by which the international
standard of human rights such as the civil, political rights and economy exist.
Not only that but also social and cultural rights have been established through
UN. The non-governmental organizations also performed their role in reminding
the government of their international obligations by issuing reliable reports.
A relatively new phenomenon to supervise such implementation is known today as
humanitarian intervention.

                To begin, human rights are an
important feature in international politics. However, the concept did not just
originate but it actually began in the 18th century. Human rights are
simply rights of man and woman as well as children. But only in 1945, human
rights acquired a place of its own in international relations. After the World
War II, it was clear that the horrors of the war should never repeated and be
allowed to happen again. Therefore, in 1945, the United Nations sought to
prevent future wars and brutality by affirming in its foundational Charter “faith
in fundamental human rights, the dignity and worth of human person and a
commitment to promote better standards of life in larger freedom”. Following
years later, member states of the United Nations strived to develop the human
rights provisions of the Charter and capture them in a single document. It took
three years to agree on a common vision. On the 10th of December
1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all people
in all nations.1

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               The Declaration consists of a
preamble and 30 articles with article 1 strongly declared that “all human
beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with
reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of

               This Declaration have generated
action for human rights protection and has inspired hundreds of human rights instruments
that together constitute international human rights law and a number of
international bodies for human rights protection. The principles of the
Declaration also have supported the decolonization struggle and have been enshrined
in the Constitutions of newly established countries which have joined the
United Nations. In addition, the Declaration has inspired national and regional
human rights protection systems including legislation and institutions and it
continues to guide the work of human rights defenders and advocate worldwide.     

             For me personally, I view this Declaration as
a guide of what human rights are. It was passed in 1948 and it was negotiated
by all member countries of UN which was over 50 countries and 20 of those were
from Latin America thus it was not just the countries of global north. From that
we can see that it reflected the traditions of many different countries
including China. On that account, this declaration is a fully negotiated
international multicultural declaration of human rights. Therefore, human
rights ought to be considered universal. However, their application and
implementation is highly specific to their countries’ political, social and
economic circumstances.   

               Although it may seem that human
rights have been implemented and recognized internationally, that is not the
case. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most universally
accepted document in the world today. However, the problem is that it was not accepted
by all states. Therefore, is the declaration of human rights is really
universal or maybe perhaps cultural relativist? This is because the view of the
creation of individual, with individual needs for human rights is criticized by
many advocates of the cultural relativist school of human rights. They argued
that human rights are a Western construct with limited applicability.3

             The problem with cultural
relativism is that firstly, culture is dynamic in a sense that it changes
throughout history. Therefore, to say that human rights is dependent on specific
culture that suggesting that the rights itself changes, is unacceptable because
we live in a multicultural world. In such a globalized and international society,
we live in today, the adoption of human rights is the first step in
guaranteeing the safety and dignity of every human on earth. Cultural
relativist argued against the universalism of human rights by claiming that it
is a foreign idea to many non-Western countries that culture and tradition come
before humanity.4 They
believed that human rights are only applicable to some culture and not all due
to different norms and ideas in different culture. However, this view possesses
a threat to the legitimacy and effectiveness of international law and the
international system of human rights which could be helpful in eradicating the
violation of human rights around the world today. In order for the
international law to be implemented successfully, the global acceptance of
human rights is essential.

              Despite that, looking at the world today,
there’s a lot of human rights breaches or violation such as the Syrian refugees’
crisis where nobody wanted to take in those refugees, the Rohingya genocide,
Arab Spring which has turned out to be a failure for human rights and so on. This
is because there is a criticism as to whether or not all members of the UN
conform to the human rights initiatives. Unfortunately, no member of the UN complies
100% on obligations to protect human rights. However, it is important to note
that with the liberal internationalism which can develop rules and norms that
promote human rights, there have been vast transformations of human rights throughout
history. Advances in human rights such as women’s right, racial equality as
well as recognition of new rights for instance, rights of people with disabilities
are significance in world politics.   

1 “Universal
Declaration of Human Rights,” United Nations


2 “Universal
Declaration of Human Rights,” United Nations

3 Rhoda E. Howard, Jack Donnelly, “Human Rights in World Politics”,
in in International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues,
by Robert Art and Robert Jervis, (Pearson, 2010), 383


4 Jack Donnelly,
“Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights.” Human
Rights Quarterly 6, no. 4, (1984)