The Universal Declaration of Human Rights represents a remarkable expansion in the recognition of the fundamental rights of all peoples. Nonetheless, consensus on the implementation of these rights is elusive. Two commonly referenced obstacles to achieving such a consensus are: (1) the United States’ practice of unilaterally exempting itself from international human rights treaties, i.e., American exceptionalism; and (2) resistance from those who see the international human rights movement as a means of imposing Western values on non-Western cultures. Considering these as related issues, both deriving from the Eurocentric nature of contemporary international law, this essay suggests that a truly universal consensus will require a decolonizing of the underlying framework of human rights law.
Human Rights, American Exceptionalism, and the Stories We TellEmory International Law Review
Citation InformationNatsu Taylor Saito, Human Rights, American Exceptionalism, and the Stories We Tell, 23 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 41 (2009).