Difference Between Universalism And Multiculturalism

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When the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) were adopted as a UN resolution in 1966, cultural rights of ethnocultural minorities were recognised as human rights and as such required attention and protection from all 164 parties. From this recognition an endless socio-political debate emanated between liberal universalists and multiculturalists in determining the ‘best’ way to protect cultural rights of ethnocultural minorities. This essay will strive to prove the importance of culture in societies while summarising both universalist and multiculturalist solutions.

Cultural rights are human rights that aim at assuring the enjoyment of culture and its components in conditions of equality, human dignity and non-discrimination. In reality, minority cultural rights are often baffled by the national majority’s culture. Too often the democratic government forgets minorities and lets the majority take over generating inequality and stigmatisation, both of which are dangerous for the society’s stability and level of integration. On the one hand, liberal universalists believe that minority problems can be solved by guaranteeing basic civil and political rights to all individuals regardless of group membership. Protection of those rights must come first but there is no need to provide group-specific rights. For liberal universalists, universal equal treatment is enough, in
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