Chapter

The Continuing Universality of the Universal Declaration

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262350.003.0043
The Continuing Universality of the Universal Declaration

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has provided an essential starting point for what is proving, over fifty years on, to be a momentous journey in human history. Much has been resolved and has developed yet further since 1948. But it is a sad reality that, after all these years, there is still disagreement as to the real universality of the rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration. Resistance to the universality of the Universal Declaration and the International Bill of Rights takes many forms, such as Western states’ rejection of economic, social, and cultural rights as universal rights. There are Islamic states that deem certain rights in these instruments to be incompatible with Islam. Further, the desirable policy of perpetuating tribal cultures has sometimes also clashed with notions of universality. And China offers particular perspectives on the question of universality. All the leading instruments, regional as well as international, prohibit torture and cruel or inhuman treatment and punishment. This chapter also discusses freedom of religion and women’s rights in the context of the Universal Declaration.

Keywords: Universal Declaration of Human Rights; cultural rights; Islam; China; freedom of religion; tribal cultures; punishment; universal rights; human rights

Chapter.  5098 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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