The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

3323 Words Dec 16th, 2014 14 Pages
With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the concept of 'human rights ' has gradually become one of the most commonly accepted universal norms, referred to in United Nations resolutions, national constitutions and regional and international treaties. Even so, human rights violations occur on an almost daily basis in countries around the world. The term seems to be at the forefront of contemporary political discourses, with its meaning at most times remaining unclear. In theory, human rights serve the sole purpose of protecting the inherent dignity of all 'representatives of the human family ' (UDHR 1948) However, there is much disagreement when it comes to theoretically justifying that each human being has rights by virtue of them being human. On one hand one can find religious and liberal political thinkers stressing the need for a foundation in which to theoretically ground human rights. On the other hand, one sees a wave of postmodern thinkers forwarding an antifoundationalist framework by questioning these very grounds (Arslan 1999:205)

The purpose of this essay is to explore to what extent there is a universal foundation to human rights and assess whether or not there needs to be one. In order to do so, I shall seek to critically engage with the theoretical justifications of human rights, highlighting the paradoxes within the literature. In addition to this, I will use the categories of 'same ' and 'other ' to underline the incompatibilities within…
Open Document