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Cross-Cultural Exchange of Human Rights: Crossing Divides or Crossing Swords?
June 11,2015   By:CSHRS
Cross-Cultural Exchange of Human Rights: Crossing Divides or Crossing Swords?
 
Thio Li-ann*
 
Abstract: This paper explores the basic framework for cross-cultural dialogue on human rights. Such dialogue implicates differing understandings of the content of human rights as well as differing interpretation of the concept of human rights itself. The challenges confronting the universality of human rights arguably stem from people’s fear of radical individualism, secular fundamentalism and political radicalism. While the universality of human rights should not be denied, cognizance must be taken as well of the gap between theory and practice during the realization of those rights and the selectivity pertaining to such realization. Dogmatism and uncompromising ideological stances is an obstacle to dialogues and cross-cultural exchanges on human rights.
 
Key words:   Human Rights    universality of human rights   cross-cultural exchanges
 
Introduction
 
Underlying the call for a cross-cultural exchange of human rights is a suspicion towards international human rights law whose core doctrinal tenet is the universality of human rights. It carries with it both hope and fear, generating advocacy, ambivalence and antipathy, sometimes all three impulses simultaneously. 
 
This is unsurprising in a plural, postmodern would, where civilizational diversity is celebrated and where “grand narratives” are deemed unfashionable. Are human rights then the last utopia,1 in their call for a universal if not transcendent/objective standard of treatment? Does universality require uniformity or is plurality accommodated? The answer to this question will determine the utility or redundancy of “cross cultural exchanges of human rights.”
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