International Human Rights Law: Imperialist, Inept and Ineffective? Cultural Relativism and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Citation:

Harris-Short, Sonia. 2003. “International Human Rights Law: Imperialist, Inept and Ineffective? Cultural Relativism and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Human Rights Quarterly 25: 130–81.

Author: Sonia Harris-Short

Abstract:

Against the background of the largely theoretical debate concerning the use and potential abuse of the cultural relativism argument by State elites, this article seeks to explore how, if at all, the cultural relativism argument is actually being deployed in practice by state delegates appearing before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Based on the evidence from this analysis, it is contended that "cultural difference" remains a common and formidable argument but that the dynamics of this argument, as played out before the Committee, simply reflect the inherent limitations and fundamental weaknesses of an international legal system founded on a "society of States" in which the voices of the local and particular are effectively silenced.

Topics: Gender, Girls, Boys, International Law, International Human Rights, Rights

Year: 2003

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