Short excerpt from one of my answers to a question from a Human Rights course I am currently doing.
The question was roughly; Is there a Western influence on the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and what effect does that have on the legitimacy of it?
I feel that there was definitely a Western-Led influence on the UDHR during its creation and that there were cultural as well as geographical contexts left out especially since it was spearheaded mainly by major Western nations. This does create a question of legitimacy as the UDHR has a strong western influence, but arguably the UDHR is created on the basis of individual and collective human rights and since all human beings are equal and similar, it implies that there really cannot be any bias because of the traits we share with the rest of humanity . The question rather should be around enforcing human rights and how Western bias effects this aspect. Nevertheless I firmly believe that as a building block as well as a show of global solidarity, the UDHR was fundamental and that its effects worldwide have been very significant and important. There is no instance in human history where an agreement has been all encompassing or has been able to address all the interests and concerns of all involved. Hence I think that the UDHR was as comprehensive as it could have been led by nations and persons who were at the time, in positions where they could introduce this concept. Nevertheless this doesn’t mean that we should not challenge and question it. Humans evolve and times change, therefore so should our perception of human rights and as a result so should the UDHR.
Have any opinions?