¿Son Universales los Derechos Humanos?

Incluso en nuestro mundo en globalización, la pregunta de si los "derechos humanos" son esencialmente un concepto occidental que ignora las muy distintas realidades culturales, económicas y políticas del Sur, persiste. ¿Pueden los valores de una sociedad de consumo aplicarse a sociedades que no tienen nada que consumir? Con riesgo de sonar frívolo: cuando uno impide que un hombre con un atuendo tradicional golpee a su esposa, ¿está uno defendiendo lo derechos humanos de ella o violando los de él?

El hecho es que hay una variedad de serias objeciones contra el concepto de derechos humanos universales, que sus defensores deben reconocer, honestamente, aunque sea sólo para refutarlas.

La primera objeción argumenta que todos los derechos y valores se definen y son limitados por las percepciones culturales; no hay una cultura universal, por lo tanto no hay derechos humanos universales. Algunos filósofos objetan diciendo que el concepto de derechos humanos está fundado en una visión individualista del hombre como un ser autónomo cuya necesidad mayor es estar libre de la interferencia del estado, investido, tal cual, con el derecho de ser dejado tranquilo. En tanto, las sociedades no occidentales a menudo se casan con una ética comunitaria que ve a la sociedad como más que la suma de sus miembros individuales, y considera que los deberes son más importantes que los derechos.

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