Chapter

The Argument by Human Suffering

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679489.003.0025
The Argument by Human Suffering

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This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western in the way in which it construes human suffering. The emphasis on civil rights and the neglect of social and economic rights seem capable of being woven into the fabric of this argument. It also influences the perception of whose rights are to be empowered to reduce human suffering. When the theatre of such suffering is outside the West, whose inhabitants are insufficiently human, their suffering was to be ameliorated to those who were sufficiently human. So it was not the victims who were to be empowered but their interests politically. In the theatres of the West the victims were to be empowered by those professionally qualified to do so. Such an analysis enables one to view the tendency to deny the right of self-determination in the Third World on the part of Western powers. Upendra Baxi makes a point where he distinguishes between two reactions to human suffering in terms of human rights discourse. One is the non-recognition of it and the other is the horrified expression of it.

Keywords: human rights; human suffering; civil rights; Upendra; social rights; economic rights; Upendra Baxi; Third World; Western powers

Chapter.  841 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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