IN CHAPTER III, I INVESTIGATE THE ISSUE OF THE UNIVERSALITY OF human rights as opposed to cultural relativism. I examine cultural relativism based on African, Confucian, and Islamic traditions. My contention is that a global culture of human rights has been spreading because of the common culture of modernity based on the global wave of democratization. The Asian Human Rights Charter is a reflection of this global trend and it embodies the universality of human rights, even though the people who participated in the drafting process of the Charter were primarily from Confucian cultures and traditions. I investigate whether the so-called Asian concept of human rights, based on cultural relativism, is a valid argument.
The cross-cultural and inter-civilizational human rights norms have been increasingly accepted in a pluralistic contemporary world. Convergence on human rights has been taking place across cultures, which we call the universality of human rights. The concept of human rights can and should apply for all human beings in every human society equally and in equal measure by virtue of their humanity.
People display enormous diversity in customs, languages, religions, moral norms, values, and political practices. In the article "Clash of Civilizations?", Huntington identifies eight major civilizations-Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and African. 1 The world is also divided by levels of economic development and ideologies into either first, second, and third worlds or a North-South framework. 2 This enormous civilizational diversity has led to a situation where ideas on human rights seem to lack a commonly shared philosophi-