Toward a New Human Rights Paradigm: Integrating Hitherto Neglected Traditional Values into the Corpus of Human Rights and the Legitimacy Question
Posted: 21 Dec 2012 Last revised: 16 Feb 2015
Date Written: October 31, 2013
The vitriolic nature of the attack unleashed at the on-going debate at the United Nations Human rights Council (UNHRC) on integrating traditional values into human rights hardly elicits surprise. The attack reflects quite strongly the age-long divide regarding the appropriate conceptualization of human rights – as universal or culture-specific. Deniers of universality have long maintained that because certain world views were not taken into account in framing foundational human rights instruments, to ascribe universality to norms resulting from such process is, on several fronts, wrong. Although this position raises a number of important concerns whose unraveling, exploration and resolution are necessary for legitimizing the universality of human rights, they have largely been ignored, particularly at the international policy- and law-making fora, until now. This latest development (extant UNHRC debate) raises a number of questions with significant implications for the future of global human rights protection. Of all these questions, the most important is: would the integration of hitherto neglected traditional values add legitimacy to the claim of universality of human rights? This paper seeks answers to the question.
Keywords: Human rights, traditional values, human rights council, legitimacy
JEL Classification: J71, K33, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation