Human dignity and rights: but why?

Notions of human rights and dignity are central to global discourse about justice, war crimes, international development as well as to feminist dialogue, racial dialogue, etc. But lurking under the surface is an abyss. This article explores the issue. Quote:

Jacques Maritain, a member of the multinational group of philosophers consulted by UNESCO in connection with the preparation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights famously remarked, “We agree about the rights so long as no one asks us why.” In their Report on the Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights, the UNESCO philosophers’ committee said they were confident that “the members of the United Nations share common convictions upon which human rights depend,” but they had to acknowledge that “those common convictions are stated in terms of different philosophic principles and on the background of divergent political and economic systems.”


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