The UN special rapporteur for cultural rights is concerned; a traditional Vietnamese drum is being exploited for touristic purposes. The fact that the oppressive Communist dictatorship routinely persecutes human rights defenders, tortures detainees and blatantly disregards freedom of religion apparently bears little mention. Pedro Pizano highlights this bizarre and worrying trajectory, whereby authoritarian states are taking full advantage of the proliferation and manipulation of human rights discourse.
In his recent article for Foreign Policy, Pizano draws on several examples of dubious claims to human rights that have been put forth by various interest groups including the so-called ‘rights’ to spare bedrooms and employment counseling. Such absurd postulations were unimaginable in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is limited to just 30 rights. Today however there are no less than 676 human rights provisions contained within the various offshoot international human rights treaties.
As explained by The Freedom Rights Project’s Jacob Mchangama, dictatorships are the true victors from this proliferation of human rights:
“When everything can be defined as a human right, the premium on violating such rights is cheap…Rights proliferation is being abused by dictatorships to praise each other, and is diminishing the moral clarity that human rights once enjoyed.”
Pizano is equally concerned and fears that we may be witnessing the slow burst of the human rights bubble. Read his full article here
(Policemen prevent a photojournalist from taking pictures outside a courthouse in Ho Chi Minh City – IAN TIMBERLAKE/AFP/Getty Images)