Human Rights, American Exceptionalism, and the Stories We Tell
Natsu Taylor Saito
Georgia State University College of Law
Emory International Law Review, Vol. 23, p. 41, 2009
Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-01
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights represents a remarkable expansion in the recognition of the fundamental rights of all peoples. Nonetheless, consensus on the implementation of these rights is elusive. Two commonly referenced obstacles to achieving such a consensus are: (1) the United States’ practice of unilaterally exempting itself from international human rights treaties, i.e., American exceptionalism; and (2) resistance from those who see the international human rights movement as a means of imposing Western values on non-Western cultures. Considering these as related issues, both deriving from the Eurocentric nature of contemporary international law, this essay suggests that a truly universal consensus will require a decolonizing of the underlying framework of human rights law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: human rights, international law, American exceptionalism, international human rights, treaties
JEL Classification: K00, K33, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 2, 2010
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