Presentation Title

**ARE UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS GLOBALLY APPLICABLE TO COMBAT CULTURAL PATHWAYS THAT LEAD TO MODERN DAY SLAVERY?** Exemplary Presentation

Presenter Information

Sumaya BamakhramaFollow

Faculty Mentor

Marc Scarcelli

Start Date

18-11-2017 9:15 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 9:30 AM

Location

15-1802

Session

Interdisciplinary 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.There is an ongoing debate between Universalism and Relativism, which highlights the never-ending dilemma regarding absolute morality versus cultural relativism. These theories complicate political stances regarding universal laws against modern day slavery and raise questions about whether or not universal human rights laws are truly universal in their nature, or if they are an example of western imperialism, in which a set of western laws are forced upon non-western populations who may not want to abide by them. Although both Universalists and Relativists agree that slavery is morally wrong, there is a gray area in the definition of slavery in which cultural practices become an obstacle to defining and targeting modern day slavery cases.Using the current objective definitions of slavery, modern day slavery, freedom, coercion, and consent, this paper examines cases which represent a gray area in the definition of modern day slavery: child labour, child brides, arranged and forced marriages, the male guardianship system, and the sponsorship system. This study also analyzes the actual underlying factors that led to these practices in order to conclude whether it is indeed a cultural practice and therefore should be protected from outside interference, or an attempt to exploit persons under the umbrella of “culture.” Finally, this paper concludes that Universal Human Rights laws are not globally applicable in their nature. Therefore a holistic approach geared toward considering different aspects, such as countries’ cultural practices, is needed in order to appropriately combat the cultural pathways that lead to modern day slavery.

Keywords: modern day slavery, child labor, child brides, sponsorship system, male guardianship system, universalism, culture, relativism, religion, arranged marriage, forced marriage, kafala system, human rights, laws, beliefs, western imperialism, cultural imperialism.

Summary of research results to be presented

In all the cases examined it is evident that Cultural Relativism could hinder International laws in combating such practices by creating a gray area and allowing for exploiters to use the concept of culture or religion to cover for their acts. Additionally, universal laws ignore the legitimate cultural practices and distort them with other outrageous acts under the umbrella of modern slavery. These laws tend to use Western ideologies to identify and combat the problem, which worsens the situations in most cases because there is lack of understanding of other cultures’ practices. Many pieces of literature have been written, either in favor of universalism or relativism. However, this research does not advocate for either one or the other, but stresses that a combination of both is needed when forming the universal human rights laws, so they can be appropriate to apply globally. A holistic approach geared toward considering different aspects and elements, such as countries’ legitimate cultural practices, moderate interpretation of religious texts and practices, and understanding the actual underlying factors behind each practice is needed in order to appropriately combat the cultural pathways that lead to modern day slavery.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 18th, 9:15 AM Nov 18th, 9:30 AM

**ARE UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS GLOBALLY APPLICABLE TO COMBAT CULTURAL PATHWAYS THAT LEAD TO MODERN DAY SLAVERY?** Exemplary Presentation

15-1802

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.There is an ongoing debate between Universalism and Relativism, which highlights the never-ending dilemma regarding absolute morality versus cultural relativism. These theories complicate political stances regarding universal laws against modern day slavery and raise questions about whether or not universal human rights laws are truly universal in their nature, or if they are an example of western imperialism, in which a set of western laws are forced upon non-western populations who may not want to abide by them. Although both Universalists and Relativists agree that slavery is morally wrong, there is a gray area in the definition of slavery in which cultural practices become an obstacle to defining and targeting modern day slavery cases.Using the current objective definitions of slavery, modern day slavery, freedom, coercion, and consent, this paper examines cases which represent a gray area in the definition of modern day slavery: child labour, child brides, arranged and forced marriages, the male guardianship system, and the sponsorship system. This study also analyzes the actual underlying factors that led to these practices in order to conclude whether it is indeed a cultural practice and therefore should be protected from outside interference, or an attempt to exploit persons under the umbrella of “culture.” Finally, this paper concludes that Universal Human Rights laws are not globally applicable in their nature. Therefore a holistic approach geared toward considering different aspects, such as countries’ cultural practices, is needed in order to appropriately combat the cultural pathways that lead to modern day slavery.

Keywords: modern day slavery, child labor, child brides, sponsorship system, male guardianship system, universalism, culture, relativism, religion, arranged marriage, forced marriage, kafala system, human rights, laws, beliefs, western imperialism, cultural imperialism.