Diversity, Human Rights and Institutions
This paper and presentation explore the tension between cultural diversity and the prospect for widespread acceptance and implementation of Universal Human Rights. It explores both Post Modern and Post Colonial responses to this issue. I will argue that the diversity of cultures and a rich variety of values is in fact a vital resource for institutions and for public policy. The influence of contrasting viewpoints can help in creating a broadly based vision that protects the rights of individuals, and recognizes the importance of the integrity of communities. The evolution of the UN’s declarations and covenants will be traced in this presentation. Specific attention will be given to the Bangkok Accords, through which a number of Asian Nations articulated a distinctive perspective on Human Rights. Issues such as the right to leave ones country of origin and to return to it will be examined, with particular focus on the control that communities should or should not have over the lives of individuals. A genuine pluralism, which does not give up on the prospect for common goals and shared ideals for humankind and their institutions, communities, and governments will also be articulated. In this paper, I will further develop my concept of “enabling diversity” which I have been working on for some time. I will try to demonstrate how institutions can benefit from a diverse work force and from a genuine commitment to pluralistic inquiry and related practices.
Keywords: Diversity, Pluralism, Human Rights, Institutions
Prof. Bernard den Ouden
Professor, University of Hartford