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Opposition to Universal Human Rights

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International Development
INTD 200
Karen Mc Allister

Opposition to Universal Human Rights - In immediate period following WWII, great enthusiasm for devel HR instruments - Enthusiasm result of memories/experiences ppl had in WWII - As move into 80s/90s, individs, grps, NGOs started to cite + use HR instru against their abusive govs - Condemn nats who were not living up to standards of Internat Bill of Rights, other conventions - Began to see govs trying to sneak out fr/obligations even though previously ratified conventions - Doctrine of cultural relativism - Mainly fr/Asian nats + nats w/mili dictatorships - Expressed opposition in terms of Asian values  (Parts of)UDHR doesn’t apply b/c UDHR = contrary to Asian values  Indonesia, China, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore - HR = new form of W colonialism  Look @voting in UN on these various instruments  1948 vote on UDHR: only 1/3 of nats were western Eur  Ratif 2 Covenants: maj of nats fr/Afr, Asia, Lat Am - Vienna Conference: all HR = universal, indivisible, interdependent, interrelated  Internat community must treat HR gl/in fair + equal manner on same footing + emph  While regional particularities + various historical, cul, relig backgrounds must brought in mind, it’s the duty of states to promote + promote all HR + fundamental freedoms - Became evident that ppl (civil soc organisation) in these nats didn’t agree w/their govs  Wanted freedom of assoc, expression, right fair trial  Through use of internet (devel @time), internat communications, able find out that great number of citizen’s didn’t agree - Article 27 UDHR: all ppl right to cultural heritage/values  E/state has right to protect unique cultures etc.  H: if in strong violation of HR standards, HR should prevail - Economic globalisation - Can be described as attack fr/W - Econ glz = laissez-faire, free market econ sys for whole world/maj regions of world  Promo of such laissez-faire, free open markets w/little/no controls, no min standards for HR, labour, environ, health  Promoted by WTO, NAFTA, APEC, GATT  Attempt to have free trade for all N + S Am  opposed, never took place - Attack on HR b/c in most free trade agreements, little/no provisions for HR or min standards w/respect to health/environ - Major manufacturing companies in W began putting manufac in low standard nats  Nats that outlawed trade unions, low unemp insurance, soc standards  These companies could lower costs considerably H: most produc still sold back @high prices in more wealthy environ where they had their head offices  Use FTA to circumvent higher standards/taxes, soc programs in place in many W nats - Soon led to 2 phase: in W nats, biz can’t compete w/those manufac in poorer nats  Want same thing here  begin to campaign in own nats  Need to lower taxes, soc programs, unemp insurance  began to happen - Became race to the bottom  Instead of trying to increase standards (80
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