The Pluralistic approach of Human Rights: A Limited Equalisation?

General overview of Human Rights

The era of Human Rights has been marked by an extensive legal evolution. The normativity of the legal texts started to be ambiguous over time. Legally, rights exist. Politically, rights survive. Legal provisions are crafted by many legal experts, mainly legislators. Political rules are dictated by a single individual (Head of a State or a Prime Minister). In another words, the legal rights are in the hands of the public functionaries, while the political system is regulated by a single individual deciding for the fate of the state. The Constitutional approach of human rights englobes the existence of various rights guaranteed by the mechanism of supremacy of the state social experiment or more precisely, the superpower of the state apparatus. Over time, the hierarchical mode of categorising Human Rights provoked the emergence of negative phenomena in the society such as the increase of the poverty level, a limited access to food and water, the impossibility to attend a regular educational curriculum and the manifestation of unhealthy modes of life due to lack of resources.


The most significant normative document is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). What is the perception about the UDHR on a domestic level? The remembrance of the notion of rights? Are the nationals of a peculiar country informed about the existence of their rights? Martin Luther King Jr. stated explicitly that freedom is a long-term objective that is hardly attainable : “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed”[1]. Unfortunately, refugees are the most undermined category by the host countries. Generally, among  refugees there are plenty of educated people who can contribute greatly for the well-being of the economy of the country. Temporary protection, educational opportunities and scholarships, the delivery of a residence permit are among many of the legal mechanisms that refugees can benefit from. On the other hand, the worrying level of racism in some Western countries is the main generator of internal conflicts and riots. Nelson Mandela reflected the essence of human rights as the fundamental cornerstone of the humanity: “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their humanity”[2]. There arises the question of the direct applicability of international conventions, human rights treaties and regional human rights instruments or in another words international provisions versus national laws. The question of legal conflict among the hierarchy of norms is inevitable. Does such primacy of International mechanisms categorise rights? The answer isn’t clear enough.

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Multicultural perspective of Human Rights

The idea of Universalism rejects the elements of nationalism. The approach of Universalism promotes the values of Multiculturalism. Thus, the multicultural aspect of human rights is interdependent with the notion of equalisation. Universalism is an advantage in terms of the promotion of the cultural heritage of a peculiar country. Therefore, Multiculturalism reflects the necessity of respecting and accepting the existence of diversity. If there is diversity, the logic of the notion of equality or equalisation is completely manifested, especially when the notion of everyonein the universal human rights declarations is the equivalent word for the notion of equality. In practice the notion of everyone is neglected by the negative influence of racism and nationalism.  This is the core textual conflict. The 1st article of the UDHR reminds us of the paramount importance of the dignity of individuals: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”[3]. The basic values are legally guaranteed, but in practice, they are quite often violated or not properly implemented.

Womens Rights as Human Rights

The Legal pluralism in the recent decades is related also to the massive emergence of the concept of Women’s Rights. Undoubtedly, Women’s Rights were mentioned in the French Declaration of the Woman and the Citizen promulgated in 1791. Moreover, this Declaration was drafted by the prominent French Woman of Letters, Olympe de Gouges. Thus, the French Revolution was provoked by the famous Women’s March on Versailles on October 5, 1789.  Since then, Women’s Rights are Human Rights. The trajectory of emancipation and political participation was a flagrant testimony for the saying:Womens Rights as Human Rights’.

To conclude, we could notice that there is a pluralistic approach that reliably enforces the existence of a limited equalisation of human rights that is often quite obliterated.

[1] Phrase coined by Martin Luther King Jr.

[2] Phrase coined by Nelson Mandela

[3] The 1st article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Hristina Crenn is a student at the Sorbonne Law School (France) and at Ibn Haldun University (Turkey) pursuing a Bachelor of Law and a Double Major in History & Political Science and International Relations, respectively. She is completing an intercontinental and interdisciplinary education in two different countries in order to grasp the divergent perspectives of multicultural civilizations. Her main research interest is focused on the study of women’s contributions in history and legal history on a societal level. She is an active learner of International Law, particularly International Humanitarian Law and Conflict & Peace Studies.

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