Human rights as an issue occupies centre stage in contemporary public debate. Part of the debate on human rights is about the origins and Significance of the nation itself. This book examines the propositions, often taken for granted, that the concept of human rights is Western.
It points out that the wisdom of drafting a statement of rights for the entire world on the basis of values of the societies of Western Europe and America, was questioned even at time of framing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In the decades since came into being, the Declaration has came under increased criticism at various times from states in Asia and Africa. The charge has been repeatedly made by policy-makers and scholars that prevailing ideas of human rights of Western origin and not necessarily of relevance to societies in the rest of the world.
The book is divided into nine parts, which examines the arguments from a range of perspectives including the historical, secular, economic, philosophical, and religious. Learned, yet accessible in its approach, it goes on to examine a question of increasing contemporary significance - whether the claim regarding compensation for historical wrongs, inflicted by colonial and other powers, should be allowed to evolve into a human right.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students of human rights, international law and organizations, as well as activists and NGOs, in addition to an informed lay audience.
About the Author:
Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion, Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. His previous books include Hinduism and Human Rights (OUP 2004) and Hinduism and its Sense of History (OUP 2003).
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