Values File

Universal human rights are not culturally imperialist

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Unformatted text preview: serves: SLHS Value File Human Rights HUMAN RIGHTS ARE NEEDED FOR A LIFE OF DIGNITY, A LIFE WORTH LIVING Jack Donnelly, author and human rights scholar, UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS IN THEORY AND PRACTICE, 1989, p. 17. Human rights are "needed" not for life but for a life of dignity: as the International Human Rights Covenants put it, human rights arise from "the inherent dignity of the human person." Violations of human rights deny one's humanity; they do not necessarily keep one from satisfying one's needs. We have human rights not to the requisites for health, but to those things needed for a life of dignity, for a life worthy of a human being, a life that cannot be enjoyed without these rights. THE UNITED STATES HAS A MORAL OBLIGATION TO UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS Richard B. Lillich, Howard W. Smith Professor of Law, University of Virginia, Board of Editors, THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, October, 1989, p. 851. U.S. constitutional law has had an equally profound impact upon the development of international human rights law. It has helped to shape the norms found in the principal international human rights instruments and to assist in their clarification, especially when such norms have found their way into national constitutions and laws. Thus, Henkin rightly observes: Americans were prominent among the architects and builders of international human rights, and American constitutionalism was a principal inspiration and model for them. As a result, most of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and later the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are in their essence American constitutional rights projected around the world. HUMAN RIGHTS ARE CRITICAL TO MODERN SOCIETIES Louis Henkin, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, board member of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Columbia Center for the Study of Human Rights, ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY, November 1989, p. 14. All societies and all religions today have accepted the notion of rights to have basic human needs...
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