Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Universal Human Rights
Human beings have inalienable rights because they cannot abandon being human. In theory, human rights are also universal. If rights are universal, then all humans regardless of gender are entitled to the full complement of rights. Universality is debated in light of cultural differences among states supposedly bound to honor the rights of each of its citizens. Critics contend that emphasis on the individual is a consequence of Western beliefs and is not supportable in cultures where the well-being of the group is paramount. Nevertheless, international law is evolving to protect fundamental rights of individuals worldwide, including the right to life, liberty, and bodily integrity. Rights range from political and civil to social and economic. Violations vary with numerous factors such as gender, group membership, and poverty. In response to the atrocities of World War II, the UN Commission on Human Rights, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, drafted the Universal Declaration ...