Universal Declaration of Human Rights Essay

1360 Words 6 Pages
On December 10th in 1948, the general assembly adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration, although not legally binding, created “a common standard of achievement of all people and all nations…to promote respect for those rights and freedoms” (Goodhart, 379). However, many cultures assert that the human rights policies outlined in the declaration undermine cultural beliefs and practices. This assertion makes the search for universal human rights very difficult to achieve. I would like to focus on articles 3, 14 and 25 to address how these articles could be modified to incorporate cultural differences, without completely undermining the search for human rights practices.
Article 3, of the Universal Declaration of
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When alerting the international human rights policies, it is integral that the language used to create the articles is concise and defined; leaving no room for interpretation based on cultural differences.
Article 25, in the Declaration of Human Rights, states “every human has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Goodhart, 380). Article 25 could create disputes surrounding cultural structures, such as caste systems in India. Supporters of the caste system could argue that individuals are born into their positions and according to their beliefs are not entitled to a “specific” standard of living. However, I argue that when this cultural belief is applied to Article 25 it is a radical perspective. The provisions outlined in Article 25 allow for social classes and inequalities to occur. Therefore, the culturally ingrained caste systems in India can still function, as long as the lowest class is provided with a standard of living necessary to survive. I argue that Article 25 is a human right, and cultures who do not wish to abide by this specific human right are using culture as an excuse for repression.
The other article that I would like to address in relation to human rights and cultural differences is Article 14. This article deals with refugees seeking asylum in another country. Article 14 states that
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