Challenges in human rights: a social work perspective :By Elisabeth Reichert
I was amazed to find such a recently published book on the subject of cultural relativism and human rights. I will get right into the discussion:
"There is no simple alternative to letting individual countries enforce human rights, for a major obstacle to imposing a universal enforcement is that of cultural relativism, which makes the application of human rights a balancing act. Contradicting a founding principle that human rights are universal is the fact that individual cultures define their own values and ethics. Applying human rights universally, without deference to specific cultural principles, diminishes a nation's cultural identity, a human rights violation in itself. In cultural relativism, all viewpoints are equally valid and truth is relative as it belongs only to the individual or to one's culture, ethical, religious, and political beliefs and are true only in relation to the cultural identity of the individual or the society."
Ms. Reicherts analysis is not really a breakthrough in regards to what we have already studied in regards to cultural relativism. However, she does lend credence to the notion of cultural relativism with her statement"applying human rights universally, without deference to specific cultural principles, diminishes a nations cultural identity, a human rights violation in itself." I have not heard a writer or a scholar express this notion until this book. This is an interesting viewpoint and I respect the way in which she draws this particular conclusion. I will like to get my hands upon this book as it looks to be very good reading on the topic of cultural relativism and human rights.