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Cultural Relativism, Universal Jurisdiction and Human Rights

The Human Rights area of different countries has its own peculiar features and structure. Human Rights are the result of people’s fight for independence. Middle East countries have always been characterized by certain unique rules and positions in the sphere of religion and human rights. The contradictions between the international standards and those of Middle East countries still exist, and no method is found to solve them.

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The article devoted to the problem is called “Muslim Voices in the Human Rights Debate”; it discloses the plurality of the human rights system in Muslims. Heiner Bielefeldt states that in comparison with other cultures and types of religions, Muslims are characterized by a complex reality hiding different troublesome interpretations covering some important normative demands. The field of human rights contains such interpretations. Taking into account the title of the article under analysis, one can realize that a particular binding fixed position cannot be typical of Muslims; it is characterized by a great number of different views “Muslim Voices,” which explain how the human rights idea and requirements of Islamic normative coincide. Islamic Law is an integral part of the human rights system and social regulations. The article provides the reader with a detailed description of the Islamic vision on the human rights idea and cultural peculiarities. One can easily examine the relationship between the traditional cultural values and the universal claims covering the field of human rights. It is an open secret that the problem of sharp tensions and conflicts between the traditionally accepted norms of Islam and human rights standards on the international level has not been solved yet and remains open to discussions. It is almost impossible to guess the way this problem can be solved. Islamic law works out different methodologies which could contribute to the renewed conceptions of human rights in order to secure own system from the interference of international regulations. Muslim structure of the society is multiple, and it covers plenty of aspects in religions and cultures. The contradictions between the standards of Muslim and international ones are really sharp and cannot be regarded as one common structure. The population suffers constant cultural conflicts due to the accepted rules, norms, and standards in society. The main point of the article is to describe the participation of the Muslim population in the international Human Rights regime. The writer wanted to show the differences between the categories of Human Rights within the countries and disclose their influence on the social life of ordinary people who should strictly follow them.

To improve the Human Rights system and poor social atmosphere in the states where Islam is considered to be the state religion and where Muslim law is an integral part of the state regulations, it is necessary to work out individual cultural basic approaches which would help to protect the general position of the Human Rights regime.

  • Approach of the political-legal sphere of state life covering all the state legal norms and regulations;
  • Approach of the socio-cultural sphere of life, including major cultural principles and social norms accepted in the society.

These approaches undergo the harmonistic perception of the general methods and rules by the Muslim regime and are helpful in creating own individual strategy for realization and protection of the Human Rights system and making it more similar to the international one.

Daniel Bell, in his work “The East Asian Challenge to Human Rights: Reflections on an East-West Dialogue,” highlighted the main approaches of East Asia concerning the field of human rights and some level of Asian criticism directed to the general norms of the West countries. Having read the article, one can underline the following major arguments disclosing the cultural approach of human rights:

  • The problem covering the fact that only acquisition of local knowledge can be the ground for temporary abridgment of certain human rights;
  • The argument disclosing the ability of Asian culture to provide the resources in order to raise local commitment to practices which are the part of human rights regime in West countries;
  • The conflict that East Asia may provide some human conceptions are corroborating definite political practices that differ from regimes of human rights accepted in Western countries.

From early times Asian human rights peculiarities were predominantly based on the political and economic situation. The author transfers the reader to the time when all rights were directed to the satisfaction of economic needs. The population faced strict limitations and even threats; the violent character of the human rights system had nothing in common with the general one. The government established rules which could have met the requirements of the state. Economics and politics were major power, and they dictated new rules as well as human rights in society. But the human rights in East Asia were focused not only on the economics but also on the social life of the population. Individual rights considering traditions and customs were as well regarded. Some ethical norms and regulations were accepted and should be followed.

This article helps to learn a lot about the methods of human rights promotion of the East countries and to recognize certain cultural peculiarities which are helpful in the fulfillment of the human rights standards establishment.

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Complex approaches of human rights areas make the reader think about the complicated structure of the culture of Middle East countries. Though the standards of these countries are not generally recognized, each state tries to fight for its right to be known and appreciated by the whole world. One can come to a conclusion that the creation of different approaches informs the reader about constant improvements in the system of human rights and the involvement of the cultural and religious regulations in the process of human reorganization. The vivid separation of the Human Rights regime in Middle East countries from the international one causes a great number of intercultural conflicts and even wars. Misunderstandings and negative atmosphere towards West regime and principles on the part of the Muslim society are the major reason for the absence of cultural unity and prejudices in the relationship of the representatives of different states and part of the world.

The analysis of the articles brings the thoughts to the following conclusions: the system of human rights should be diminished to provide better economic development; the culture and religion should be compulsory presented in the establishment of rights, but not ignored. It is not an easy task to unite the general rules of the human rights system with those of the Middle East countries. Interactions on the international level still take place and cause more and more misunderstandings between the countries. To find a way out of this complicated situation is almost impossible. To my way of thinking, the countries should meet halfway and work out human rights, which would never be the background for future conflicts. They should try to avoid cultural misunderstandings providing regimes that could be conducive to national friendship.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Cultural Relativism, Universal Jurisdiction and Human Rights'. 24 October.

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