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Between Culture and Constitution: Evaluating the Cultural Legitimacy of Human Rights in the African State.

Harvard Human Rights Journal. August 2000;22(3): 838-860

Between Culture and Constitution: Evaluating the Cultural Legitimacy of Human Rights in the African State.

Ibhawoh, B.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Bonny Ibhawoh – Between Culture and Constitution: Evaluating the Cultural Legitimacy of Human Rights in the African State – Human Rights Quarterly 22:3 Human Rights Quarterly 22.3 (2000) 838-860 Between Culture and Constitution: Evaluating the Cultural Legitimacy of Human Rights in the African State Bonny Ibhawoh * We must go back to listening. More thought and effort must be given to enriching the human rights discourse by explicit reference to other non-Western religions and cultural traditions. By tracing the linkages between constitutional values on the one hand and the concepts, ideas, and institutions which are central to [various] traditions, the base of support for fundamental rights can be expanded and the claim to universality vindicated. Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights at the Dawn of the 21st Century I. Introduction The polarized debate over the universality or cultural relativity of human rights seems to have given way in recent years to a broad consensus that there is indeed a set of core human rights to which all humanity aspires. The discourse has gradually moved away from whether contemporary human rights are truly universal and therefore cross-culturally applicable to whether they are, as cultural relativists argue, merely the product of Western individualism. One reality that has strengthened the need for the universalization of human rights is the trend toward rapid globalization in almost every…

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