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Having surveyed the range of human rights protected by international law, both civil and political and economic and social rights, we now return to a problem we touched on in Module One. What does it mean to say we hold rights as “humans”? Can specific rights – to equality, to privacy, or to free expression – be the same for everyone, regardless of their particular social, political, religious and/or cultural context? This Module will explore that question.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to:

  1. explain what “universality” means in the human rights context;
  2. present arguments on both sides of the universality debate;
  3. describe how international law protects women’s rights; and
  4. describe the scope of protection for LGBT rights under international law.