31 October 2006, 12:35
Russian Church representative in Strasbourg points to challenges faced by modern human rights concept
Strasbourg, October 30, Interfax - The diversity of cultural traditions in the world challenges the universal concept of human rights, Hegumen Philaret Bulekov, Russian Orthodox church representatives in Strasbourg, believes.
‘The principle of human rights is effective only if there is a basic consensus on how this principle is understood and linked, in its turn, with at least a minimal moral consensus’, he stated in his address at a seminar in Strasbourg.
Otherwise, he continued, human rights cannot govern social life and help overcome potential and already existing conflicts between adherents to different value systems.
The priest is convinced that ‘this is really a serious challenge to the concept of human rights understood as universal and axiomatic in the context of multiculturalism and religious diversity’.
It can be even said, he maintained, that the development of the human right concept today ‘is lagging behind the rapid changes taking place on global, regional and national levels’.
‘The mass migration, revival of religious consciousness, experiences of community including cultural sharing in the context of intertwining cultures, absence of a moral consensus on major problems - all this demands a comprehensive and serious discussion on the foundations of the human rights’, the representative of the Russian Church said.
He believes the pragmatic understanding of these rights in a spirit of rational egoism is ‘apparently no longer sufficient’, as today we are witnessing and participating in the glaring contradictions developing precisely in Europe with regard to family ethics, freedom of expression, role of religion in public life and politics, the priest noted.
In addition, he said, there are also such processes today as opposition to the globalization and partial or full rejection of the European principle of human rights as a universal and immutable norm of international law in non-European societies and cultures.
‘Today, the traditional understanding of human rights should be correlated with the fact of cultural diversity and impossibility to reduce various cultures to a single legal denominator. I mean culture as a system of norms and ideas having their own history and building on religious or, on the contrary, non-religious values and presupposing therefore a certain individual and social morality’, Father Philaret said.