Ajamu Baraka: The Need for an Ethical and Political De-Colonization of Human Rights

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"...This annual ritual [International Human Rights Day] poses an interesting set of questions as to how the U.S. and other Western powers are able to get away with wrapping themselves in the cloak of human rights respectability while being responsible for unspeakable atrocities over the last few centuries. And how is it that many other non-Western nations and most Western-based international human rights organizations are complicit in this charade?

"For some who have attempted to answer these questions, the conclusion was that cynicism and hypocrisy explained the obvious disparity in deed and action on the part of these powerful states. But while attractive, that explanation seems too easy and does not explain how sincere advocates of human rights, who see themselves as unbiased and who occasionally will criticize Western states, still find themselves more often than not supporting Western powers in their various adventures to “defend” human rights in the form of “humanitarian military interventions” to economic warfare through sanctions against select states.

"A better explanation for the double standards and intellectual myopia of human rights organizations rests with the distorted, partial and biased world-view projected as universalism that is at the heart of the liberal ideological project. For mainstream human rights practitioners, the assumption that the human rights idea is a “universally” accepted political and moral construct is uncontested. This position asserts that the human rights idea represents an objective, politically neutral framework that reflects the natural evolutionary progress of the global community..."

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