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Unit 4 – Global Cultural Issues. Topics. Human Rights Economics War Justice. Starting Point. United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Drafted in 1948 by Canadian John Peters Humphrey Guaranteed basic freedoms and protections to all human beings

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  • Human Rights
  • Economics
  • War
  • Justice
starting point
Starting Point

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

  • Drafted in 1948 by Canadian John Peters Humphrey
  • Guaranteed basic freedoms and protections to all human beings
  • Designed to prevent war, injustice and exploitation
nuts bolts
Nuts & Bolts
  • Life must be protected
  • Emphasis on the rule of law
  • Right to live a happy and prosperous life
  • Dignity and justice for all
  • The UN cannot enforce the UDHR
  • Member states are encouraged to implement in individual charters
grey area cultural differences
Grey area – Cultural Differences
  • Article 18 – Freedom from religion
  • Many theocratic states disagreed with this clause
grey area omissions
Grey Area – Omissions
  • Amnesty International has pushed for the right to refuse to kill
  • This would allow people to refuse any duty where violence is assumed
macro micro level
Macro & Micro Level
  • Macro Level – Societal or Cultural issues
  • Micro Level – Individual – Euthanasia
cultural relativism
Cultural Relativism
  • The belief that countries can only be judged by their standards – ex: the wearing of the Burka is Islamic societies OR genital mutilation in tribal states
  • C.R cannot be a pass in human rights
  • C.R cannot restrict freedom of choice of conscience
human rights around the world
Human rights around the world

Most states around the world will have issues surrounding human rights:

  • Canada – Residential Schools
  • USA – Right to bear arms / prosecution of terrorism suspects

Some are obvious violations, other are difficult to interpret

a varied planet
A Varied planet
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • China
  • Oka - Canada
saudi arabia at a glance
Saudi arabia at a glance
  • Middle Eastern Kingdom rich from oil
  • Theocracy – run by religion
  • Spiritual centre of the Islamic faith (Mecca & Medina)
  • Implicated in a range of human rights issues
saudi arabia on the brink
Saudi Arabia on the brink
  • Growing concern about religious extremism
  • Wahhabism (Sunni sect) – can be used to for extreme, fundamentalist interpretations of the Quran
  • Huge growth in Madrassas
  • September 11 attacks – majority of hijackers were Saudi
  • Support for Syrian rebels
is the death penalty just
Is the death penalty just?

Agree, disagree, not sure

robinson case
Robinson case
  • Who do you think was executed?
  • How did you arrive at that conclusion
  • Is there anything that is particularly problematic about the case?
  • Is there anything that would make a death sentence problematic?
case study
Case study

6 groups – 2-4 per group

  • 1) In favor of death penalty for Andy Smith
  • 2) Against death penalty for Andy Smith
  • 3) In favor of death penalty for Jim Stiles
  • 4) Against death penalty for Jim Stiles
  • 5) In favor of death penalty for Sam Waltham
  • 6) Against death penalty for Sam Waltham

The Death Penalty

  • Lengthy debate about the use of the death penalty – human rights violation?

Article 3 – Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

where do you stand
Where do you stand?

Justice vs. Revenge

Violence to Stop Violence

Eye for an Eye

death penalty considerations
Death penalty considerations
  • Race
  • Ethics
  • Laws
  • Lack of Evidence
  • Technological Advancements - DNA
  • 1992 Civil War
  • Muhammad Farrah Aidid uses food terrorism
  • 300,000 dead – 1.5 million displaced/affected
  • 14 tribal warlords are fighting for control
world responds
World Responds
  • UN Security Council calls for intervention
  • US Marines/Army lead a multinational force

Goal – Restore food access

  • Black Hawk Down – Somali militias defeat UN Force
  • Somalia descends in chaos
  • Militias force adversary's into Refugee Camps
food terrorism
Food terrorism
  • 2010 Sahel Famine
  • Groups outside Mogadishu hijacked relief aid
  • Access to food remains a major concern in rural Somalia
religious terrorism
Religious terrorism
  • Al-Qaeda affiliates have regularly disrupted government advances in Somalia
  • Al Shabaab – 5000 members
piracy at a glance
Piracy – at a glance

The Why

  • Concerns with Fishing – Foreign vessels dominate the Gulf of Aden pushing out natives
  • Money – Extremely lucrative – 2.5 million per ransom
  • Fund Warlords
point to ponder
Point to ponder
  • Given the dire situation in Somalia, should we condemn all Gulf of Aden Pirates of terrorists or thieves?

Yes & No – You Tell Me

a matter of honour
A Matter of Honour
  • Honour Killing / Retaliation
  • Cultural vs. Human Life


sexist societies
Sexist societies
  • Sexism remains a major problem in many States around the world
  • Theocracies tend to place limits on the role and activities in society
  • Violations can range and be very severe, illegal and unethical
  • Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex
  • Affects society in a multitude of ways:
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Justice
  • Civil Society
a man s world
A Man’s world?
  • Lingering attitude that women are subservient to men
  • 1950’s escalation – woman stays at home where she serves her husband – western context
  • Globally – religion and lack of education major causes

Islam – Women as pure and subservient who must live modestly

South East Asia – Women as sexual beings

sexism violence
Sexism & Violence
  • Women are disproportionally targeted for acts of violence
  • Domestic abuse / murder
  • Honour Killing
  • Canada has recorded 14 honour killings since 2011
bechdel test
Bechdel test
  • Does the movie feature:
  • at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.
  • Two women are openly named
a matter of culture
A Matter of Culture?
  • The UN estimates there are over 6000 distinct cultures worldwide
  • Each with different languages, customs, traditions, ways of thinking
cultural relativism1
Cultural Relativism
  • The practice of judging a culture by its standards. Not ours.
  • Is it acceptable to wear your shoes in the house?

1.)Do not count the change too openly in restaurants,cafes and pubs, as Russians can be offended, that you don't trust them.2.)Russians have a big practice in drinking strong drinks. Don't try to overdrink them, if you want to find your way home.3.)You can discuss almost everything with Russian people: private matters,children, culture, politics, philosophy, health.Don't discuss only topics connected with money and career. Don't ask their age and don't speak badly about their country. They are great patriots.4.)Don't boast of your talents, achievements and the life in your country, as this can irritate them.5.) Russians don't like formal smiles. So don't worry if they don't smile. It doesn't mean negative feelings towards you.6.)Remember the closer your relations with Russian people,the more unceremonious they are.7.)Russians are usually not punctual people. Don't be upset if your meeting is canceled or postponed.8.)Russian men can be rather aggressive, especially when they are intoxicated. Be always polite with them and try do not offend them if you don't want to fight.

danger of cultural relativism
Danger of cultural relativism
  • Where does society draw the line b/t cultural relativism and human rights?
  • If a cultural practice is unjust, can cultural relativism apply?
canada s human rights challenge
Canada’s human rights challenge

Case Study: The Oka Crisis

human rights in canada native population
Human rights in canada: Native population
  • Despite identification of problems, Canadian Aboriginal citizens face a host of challenges – some crossing human rights barriers
  • Suicide, poverty, substance abuse, lack of education, reduced economic opportunities persist
  • Some high profile cases
  • Do Canadian Natives have an equal chance at the pursuit of happiness?
r c on aboriginal suicide
R.C on aboriginal suicide
  • How prevalent is suicide among Natives in Canada?
  • What are the major explanations for this phenomenon?
  • Do any of these explanations constitute human rights violations?
west montreal
west montreal
  • Area known for its natural beauty and many tourist resorts – “Quebec’s cottage country”
  • Constant interest from land developers
  • Municipality of Oka entertained offers for various land developments
complicating factor
Complicating factor
  • Proposed golf course fell on a Mohawk burial ground
  • Considered sacred
  • Armed Mohawk citizens took to the streets and woods around the proposed golf course
  • The Canadian government responded by rolling in the military
  • Blockade ensued for 70 days
  • Resolved when Oka agreed not to sell land
blockade showdown
Blockade showdown
  • Military rolled in – shots were fired
  • Several arrests made
human rights law
Human rights law
  • Global jurisprudence is designed to curb the “abuses of man”
  • Laws should:
  • Provide basic protections to the entire population
  • Be universally applied
  • Reflect the values of the populations
  • Be fluid and change with societal changes
healthcare globally
Healthcare globally
  • States around the world face healthcare challenges:
  • Inverse Care – Those who don’t need HC, have the best access to it.
  • Financial Stress – Costs associated with illness
  • Unsafe Care – Inadequate facilities, equipment, etc.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

global perspective
Global perspective
  • Almost every D State provides Universal Healthcare
  • Many LD States provide Universal Healthcare



  • Canada - USA
  • India - Saudi Arabia
  • UK