This based on both sides will be considered

essay aims to evaluate the above statement that suggests that human rights are
created solely on western values which are imposed on non-western societies. To
critically asses this statement there will be a debate formulated on whether
this is a fair assumption or not. To formulate the argument, examples based on
both sides will be considered from points such as; western values within human
rights law are not universal to non-western countries as well as the introduction
of human rights to non-western societies is not a disadvantage and not as
imposed as the statement suggests. To begin the essay there will be a brief discussion
on the birth of international human rights law in the past 70 years following
World War 2 and why they are considered a western creation. Following this
there will be an expansive discussion on whether human rights are entirely
universal to non-western cultures which will be accompanied by examples to back
this up. To counter this argument, the benefits of western human rights in non-western
societies will be discussed. Throughout reference will be made to relevant international
human rights treated and charters which have developed in the past 30 years. To
conclude, an evaluation of all the points made within the essay will be laid
out and assessed on whether or not the above statement is a fair account of
western human rights.

notion of human rights within international law as a protection for all individuals
is a relatively new concept. Emerging from the ashes of World War 2, human rights
hit a pinnacle when the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was
established in 1948. The purpose of this was to bring about safeguards for all individuals
and to ensure the same atrocities of genocide and torture that Europe had just
faced, didn’t happen again. The UDHR was adopted by the General Assembly of the
United Nations in December 1948 and at the time 48 of 68 member states of the
UN voted in favour. 33 of the 48 member states who signed where Latin American
and countries to be considered non-western. This meant that more than 2 thirds
of the signatories where not of typically western societies. Votes against the
UDHR included the Soviet Union, Poland and Saudi Arabia. 1

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the adoption of the UDHR, there have been a number of conventions brought forward
in recent years in order to further protect the human rights within the declaration
and in an attempt to further enhance the rights of everyone. Examples include
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (UNCRC), the UN Convention on
the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 1999 (CEDAW) and the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 (UNDRIP).  Following the 1993 UN World Conference on
Human Rights, the UN also created the position of the High Commissioner for Human Rights whose duty it is to coordinate
human rights activities and works to protect the human rights laid out within
the UDHR.2

the above mentioned conventions and declarations are signed by many countries
of  different cultural societies separate
from western ideologies, it has been argued that the values within them are considered
to be based of off western concepts and values. It is a fair assumption that
this is the case as the wording within many conventions and the UDHR itself are
very individualist and secular, disregarding collective and religious societies.
Such communist states as the Soviet Union who are collectivist, did not sign
the UDHR and following conventions as they were more focused on collective
economic and social rights. The declarations and conventions can also be
considered solely western in their interpretation of gender and religious
concepts which in countries such as Saudi Arabia, who also voted against, are different
due to religious laws (Sharia Law) and cultural norms. Saudi Arabia opted out
of the UDHR due to its stance on gender as they felt it violated the
fundamental principles of Islam.3

1 ‘Universal
Declaration Of Human Rights’ (
accessed 5
January 2018.

| Core International Instruments’ (, 2017)

accessed 8 January 2018.

3 ‘Human
Rights Developments – Saudi Arabia’ (
accessed 7 January