Human Rights are Outdated: Defending the Motion

In order to strengthen civic competences in AEGEE, the Civic Education Working Group has been promoting debating throughout the year. Why? Debating was proven to improve academic achievements, critical thinking, mutual understanding, as well as communication, argumentation and interpersonal skills. In short it helps you to know more and form a better-founded opinion. Today we are taking the debate online for the first time, with a topic that challenges the very basis of our organisation! 


For each topic, a defending and an opposing motion will be presented. You can express your opinion and continue to debate on the forum. Note that these statements are not necessarily the person’s personal opinion, nor are the arguments they use indisputable.

Human Rights, the only good thing we have in this world, isn’t it? Or is it? Now imagine you have to think of one bad thing about Human Rights today. What would that be?

Human Rights might have been, and still are, the most important, liberating, long fought for, inventive and inclusive way to make human lives across the planet as decent as possible. Yet, one bad thing about Human Rights development is the fact that the development itself stopped where it is. Yes, mankind did something extraordinary, but stopping only there might not have been the best idea in such a fast progressive society. Right now we need more. More concreteness and a better implementation. One of the major and most noticeable drawbacks of Human Rights today is the failure of their implementation.

Even if we are talking about a document that has been adopted by the majority of countries around the world, disasters which disobey the convention are vastly happening all around the world, and rarely do they manage to reach the International court of Justice and Human Rights. Indeed, we could trace the reasoning for such happenings on a grass-root level, and blame the countries themselves, and yet, it would still continue to happen. They were new back in their time, they were revolutionary, and not all countries were in favour of them, that we all know by now. However, today, there might be space for considering mandatory implementing strategies, and not dependence on the reluctance of countries. And yet, this should not sound western and colonizing, as the next step accompanying would be the importance of the cultural sensitivity that the Human Rights lack. They are indeed our common denominator, and in that sense they are as broad as it gets, but if all the countries would take some time and effort to create directives and legislation that would be as inclusive, grass-root, context sensitive, and culturally adopted, then maybe we could talk about possible coverage of all the rights and all the territories.

Putting everything that was already said aside, we could all agree that Human Rights might be considered quite outdated. Not only that new issues have arisen, that are not addressed in the convention so far, but some of the already existing ones make no sense today anymore.  For example, if we take a look at this: “Everyone has the right to a nationality.” Then it would make us think indeed, was this an issue in the past, can it still be an issue today, how relevant is it, and whether it can be from today’s perspective addressed in a different way?

Arguing that Human Rights are bad as such is something not so favorable and accepted. We would all be happier to just accept them and praise them as they are. Yet, it makes me wonder, if we would be as critical of them as we praise them, would a possible door for change start to open?

You can read the opposing motion here.

If you want to give your imputs and continue with the debate you can go to the forum via this link.


Written by Andrea, Civic Education Working Group