A review of Human Rights: New Perspectives, New Realities, edited by Adamantia Pollis and Peter Schwab. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000. 259pp.

The debate as to whether human rights should be considered universal or culturally relative has come a long way. In 1947, when the Commission on Human Rights considered proposals for formulating a declaration on basic human rights, the American Anthropological Association submitted a statement expressing concern about the universality of the proposed declaration. The association’s main argument was that ideas about rights and wrongs and good and evil that exist in one society are incompatible with the ideas of rights and wrongs and good and evil in many other societies. Since then, however, significant advances have been made in narrowing the gap between advocates of universality and cultural relativism.

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