The contribution of Southern perspectives to the universal conception of human rights in the international arena: conflict or complementarity?

Dr. Danielle Costa da Silva

International human rights policy reflects the way power is distributed and balanced in the world, indicating an intrinsic relationship between human rights and power in the international system. From this understanding, it is possible to delineate an analysis of how the ideas and values of the South affect the international human rights agenda, aiming to minimize the (hyper) politicization practiced by the North, for example, in the topics discussed, in the debate and in the formulation of international standards. At this point, the idea is that the South, as a group of developing countries whose economic and political structures differ from the dominant Northern countries (or developed hegemonic powers), consists of a region of intellectual production distinct from that produced by the Northern countries. Thus, the article ponders how the multiplicity of values and issues coming from southern countries impact on the construction of the universalist conception of human rights in the international arena and what would be the nature of this impact: we would have a contribution aimed at expansion and improving the scope of human rights problematizations or a counter-hegemonic perspective conflicting with the vision of hegemonic universal rules, intending their revision and suppression? Using a bibliographical theoretical reflection, based on the critical theory of International Relations and the multicultural cosmopolitanism of human rights, the objective of this work is: to point out the hegemonic incidence of the North in the conceptual construction of the universality of human rights; to present how such universality is problematized in the international sphere contributing to the formulation of critical positions of the southern countries; to address some contributions from the southern perspectives on human rights, in particular Latin American, African and Islamic; and finally, to analyze their epistemological and political contributions to the universal conception of human rights in the international sphere.