define human rights and human rights violations

In this paper, you are asked to define human rights and human rights violations. You could start with your own understanding of these two extremely important issues. You should then explain how the readings we have done and videos we have watched have either modified or strengthened your own views.

Then you should address the following questions: Can different countries have different sets of human rights? Should antiquated customs and traditions weigh at all in assessing the criteria governing human rights, or should such customs and traditions be dispensed with if they infringe on human rights? In other words, are human rights natural rights—and therefore inalienable— or are they cultural (and possibly socio-political) constructs? Finally, explain why, in your view, we are still far from a world in which human rights are universally observed and respected, notwithstanding the fact that the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted  in 1948 ( In particular, has the West effectively promoted human rights, or have some of its practices hindered them?

                Feel free to explore these topics and come up with your own approach. Bring in concrete examples! There are many examples from history, past and present. We have already discussed a few of them and will talk about more. However, you can also choose different examples.        

                Don’t forget to refer to the readings as you write your essays; in other words, quote and paraphrase!

Suggested additional reading: Müllerson, Rein. “Human Rights Are Neither Universal Nor Natural,” Chinese Journal of International Law, Volume 17, Issue 4, December 2018, Pages 925–942. (PDF on Blackboard. Go to Course Documents –> Course Readings)


–You have to use at least two course readings and, optionally, one independently researched source.

–Do not use Wikipedia as one of your sources. You should feel free to read Wikipedia for information and ideas, but if you want to quote and/or paraphrase, you should go to the original source(s).

–The essay must be typed and double-spaced in 12-point font.

–Use MLA style. See

list of course readings (2 required):

Richard Peet_ From Eurocentrism to Americentrism

Partition of India_ The Human Dimension_ Introduction

The Historiography of India’s Partition_ Between Civilization and Modernity

Frantz Fanon_ Concerning Violence_ from _The Wretched of the Earth_long version

Frantz Fanon_ Concerning Violence_ from _The Wretched of the Earth_short version

Walter_Rodney_”The Coming of Imperialism and Colonialism.” _How Europe Underdeveloped Africa_

Rein Mullerson, “Human Rights Are Neither Universal nor Natural”

Amartya Sen_ Identity and Violence. The Illusion of Destiny

Chomsky, Noam, and Andre Vltchek. _On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare_

James Gilligan, Violence, pages 6-8

“Shame, Guilt, and Violence” by James Gilligan

Toward a psychoanalytic theory of violence fundamentalism and terrorism_James Gilligan

Violence, Morality, and Religion_ James Gilligan