As 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of UDHR, it is rather timely to reflect – as a community and as an individual – upon the gains and lapses of the implementation of the Declaration amidst the criticisms it has received.
With the aim of coming up with a road map to safeguard the rights of every individual everywhere, the international community, through the United Nations (UN), came up with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). In April-May 1946, the Economic and Social Council established the Nuclear Commission that was tasked to propose the new Commission on Human Rights (CHR). In the first session in 1947, the CHR authorized its members to come up with a draft of international bill of rights. This duty was later assumed by a formal drafting committee comprised of 18 members coming from eight states and with varied political, cultural, religious and geographical backgrounds. Some of the core group members were Eleanor Roosevelt (Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights; First Lady of the USA from 1933-1945), Pen-Chun Chang (Vice-Chair of the Commission on Human Rights; playwright, philosopher, educator and diplomat from China), Charles Malik (Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights; philosopher and diplomat from Lebanon), John Humphrey (Director of the UN Secretariat’s Division for Human Rights; lawyer from Canada), and René Cassin (Member of the CHR; jurist and judge from France). On 10 December 1948, by the Resolution 217 A (III), the General Assembly that was held in Paris and participated in by more than 50 Member States formally adopted the UDHR.
Throughout the years from its adoption, the UDHR has received various criticisms, two of which are the more crucial ones: How can there be a universal document on human rights in this highly diverse world (cultural relativism)? Is this Declaration only a tool of the Western world to universalize their set of values and ideas (cultural imperialism/neo-colonialism)?
The full article can be accessed at https://shabka.org/blog/2018/09/03/the-call-to-uphold-human-rights/
Published originally on 3 September 2018 at Shabka
Shabka is Austria’s youngest think-and-do tank at the nexus of conflict and peace analysis as well as foreign, development, and security policy. It is set up as a civil society network, and a hub for passionate talents.
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