Theories Of Cultural Relativism

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The theory of cultural relativism is criticized and questioned by many; it is considered as one of the weakest arguments pertaining to human rights. This is because it is established that human rights are needed not for life but for a life of dignity. Furthermore, human rights should be universal, fundamental, and inalienable, and thus they cannot and should not be overridden by cultural relativism. Arguments presented by cultural relativism against human rights tend to be contradictory in nature. This is attributed to the fact that cultures first and foremost need human rights to even exist. In the contemporary world, cultures need freedom of religion, tolerance, and freedom of association and assembly in order to survive. This means that…show more content…
Three Challenges posed by Cultural Relativist Arguments Human rights are those rights that are held simply by virtue of being human. Human rights’ substance, form and interpretation – at least according to the Universalist model – are not subject to variations and differences in culture. Cultural relativist argument rejects this claim and contends instead that the source of human rights is culture, since cultures are diverse. Cultural relativism maintains that human rights are non-universal; moreover, cultural relativists challenge the universality of human rights on three different…show more content…
Moreover, this idea contradicts the universality of human rights because the morality and human rights has been determined by every society which sets its morality and human rights according to its own interests and perception. Accordingly, there are no shared legal or moral standards because substantive human rights standards vary, which reflect the conventions of each culture. Actually, cultural relativism’s call for more culturally-relative human rights in order to promote human security is not logical and unjustified. For instance, cultural relativism has not confronted and fought against the practices which violate human rights in many countries. A practical example of this can be seen in a number of Muslim countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Syria, entered reservations of CEDAW on the basis of Shari‘ah or religion generally. Their justification of non-compliance in such implementation is that CEDAW are inconsistent with Islamic principles. Jordan, for example, puts reservations because CEDAW articles are in conflict with Islamic law and the Jordanian Constitution. These countries used this justification to ignore or excuse acts of discrimination, gender-based inequality and violence against women’s rights. Thus, it is clear that,
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