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Human rights are a strong point of contention in the context of global politics. This is due to the vast diversity of perspectives that exist in the international world system – which makes it increasingly to difficult to define what can constitute a truly global conception of human rights today. As, at the core of human rights perspectives is the suggestion that there should be a ‘basic’ notion of universal human rights. However, this is widely contested. To discuss the possibility of universal human rights, we must consider the conditions it requires and what defines human rights. This is particularly important for distinguishing human rights from other kinds of rights – as what one person considers a human right; another might not consider a right at all. In this essay I will critically interpret the notion of human rights universality in the contemporary realm of global politics. Observing the merits and downfalls of this interpretation, I open the concept of universal human rights to challenge by grappling with the definition of ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ human rights. In diverse world system increasingly characterized by transnational cooperation I will address the fundamental question of there being a human ‘right to politics’, or more precisely, if human rights require democracy. In conclusion, I suggest that there is in fact a universal notion of human rights, but whether or not it can be enforced is questionable. To truly understand a notion of universal human rights, we must introduce a definition of human rights. Human rights are defined by the United Nations as the ‘universal and inalienable rights inherent to all human beings regardless of nationality, residence, sex, ethnicity, religion and language’ (UN: 2014). This defi... ... middle of paper ... ...eignty and individual autonomy (Ivison: 2010). The interest approach argues that to say that someone is entitled to something suggest that others have a duty to perform in ones interests. The choice approach, on the other hand maintains a right as the ability to maintain an uncontested domain of sovereignty and choice on the part of the individual. Therefore, it is questionable to determine to what level we can distinguish our rights from the rights of others. Or more precisely, can one ethically argue that should we stipulate the universality of human rights if they impede on peoples ethnic, cultural or religious beliefs? If there is a human right to education, but this challenges ones religious beliefs, and thus self-determination can this then be seen as undermining human rights? This is another fundamental paradox within the notion of human rights universality.
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