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The Culturalization of Human Rights Law$
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Federico Lenzerini

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664283.001.0001

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Human Rights: Historical Development and Contemporary Regional Models

Human Rights: Historical Development and Contemporary Regional Models

Chapter:
(p.33) 2 Human Rights: Historical Development and Contemporary Regional Models
Source:
The Culturalization of Human Rights Law
Author(s):

Federico Lenzerini

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664283.003.0002

In order to properly understand whether or not—and, in case, to which extent—human rights standards are universal, it is useful to analyse how the idea of human rights developed within the different human societies. In Chapter 2, a brief look at pre-colonial societies is sufficient to show that the idea according to which human rights would be a creation of Western philosophers in the Age of Enlightenment is inaccurate, human rights having contextually developed in virtually all human communities since ancient times. At the same time, human rights have been shaped within all the said communities according to heterogeneous models, determined by their different cultural specificities. These differences are reflected in the present characterization of human rights, showing that the Western model of rights represents only part of the picture in the contemporary world.

Keywords:   history of human rights, pre-colonial societies, Western concept of human rights, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Islam, Pacific Area, collective rights, duties

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