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Relative universality, harmful cultural practices and the united nations’ human rights council

Fagan, A and Fridlund, H (2016) 'Relative universality, harmful cultural practices and the united nations’ human rights council.' Nordic Journal of Human Rights, 34 (1). 21 - 39. ISSN 1891-8131

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Abstract

© 2016 Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. This article presents a critical analysis of the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) engagement with the challenges which recognising cultural practices raises for human rights norms. The importance of culture for human rights and of the necessity of individuals’ enjoyment of human rights to culture has achieved growing recognition within the global human rights community in recent years. Theorists and practitioners of human rights are increasingly seeking to move beyond the stark polarity of the debate between universalism and cultural relativity. We endorse this aspiration towards a far more constructive universalist engagement with cultural practices. Institutional practitioners have a key role to play in such a constructive endeavour. Given its standing within the UN’s human rights system, the HRC provides a key focal point for those efforts. It has also recently sought to rehabilitate the standing of so-called traditional cultural practices as essential for the establishment and implementation of human rights norms. Our article offers a critical analysis of the HRC’s contribution to this area of interest. Specifically, we focus upon the manner in which the HRC conceives of traditional cultural practices, in so far as this conception largely fails to distinguish these from other traditional cultural practices.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2016 11:04
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 18:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17195

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