Module 1 ICJ 704 Comments to students You are supposed to respond to the other two questions in at

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Okay so you have my discussion board posted to see it and questions. Now – You are supposed to respond to the other two questions in at least 200 words as a comment to your classmates’ responses.

1. Student one
Aimee Hanstein
If the Taliban are elected, and then outlaw female education, what is the duty of the United Nations (or other such bodies) to do?
Although female education has not reached all of Afghanistan, it has spread a lot since Moghadam’s 2002 article. Since the United States entered Afghanistan in 2001, the actual number of girls who, over time, went to school is disputed, but there is broad agreement that since 2001 millions of girls who would not have received any education under the Taliban now have had some schooling (Human Rights Watch, 2017). Moghadam’s article, touches on the fact that an unstable government can contribute to the patriarchal society, and unfortunately, years later, Afghanistan is still not a stable government, this is partly why the war on terror in Afghanistan has been considered such a failure and why the U.S. has received some backlash for leaving the country. Currently, the Taliban and the Afghan government are in intra-Afghanistan peace talks, before the United Nations can intervene if the Taliban is elected (and outlaws female education), female education should be part of the current on-going peace talks. Making female education a conversation in the peace talks and a requirement will make it easier for bodies such as the UN to intervene. It has even been pointed out that Afghan women need to be part of the peace process (Foreign Policy and Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security). According to the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS), “The Taliban banned girls from schooling and today over 3.5 million girls are enrolled. Women went from being virtually erased under Taliban rule to becoming policewomen, teachers, public officials, mayors, and entrepreneurs. In 2019, women accounted for 28% of the Afghan parliament – a proportion higher than 67% of countries tracked by the World Bank. They will not surrender these gains”. Peace cannot be made on the backs of Afghan girls and women.

One of the terms that the GIWPS suggests the international community does is “Condition international aid on the preservation of the rights and liberties currently enjoyed by Afghan citizens, especially women’s rights”. If female education and women’s rights are included in the peace talks, and if/when the Taliban is elected, they decide to go against this, international aid from the UN and other countries and organizations, should be withheld. The UN also would then have the right to intervene when it comes to conflict and governance, and the Taliban then risks Western countries such as the United States entering the country once again, this is laid out in the current U.S.-Taliban peace talks and is a stipulation in the intra-Afghanistan peace talks. The UN should also create their own peace deals with the new Afghan government or with both the Afghan government and the Taliban, once the intra-Afghanistan peace talks have finished, to ensure that progress already made is not just erased. Because Afghanistan is still considered a conflict zone and since the current ongoing peace talks may touch on UN presence already, the UN has a duty to continue any work already being done in Afghanistan.

The United Nations has already made amazing strides with education in Afghanistan in general, but also female education. It is possible, that since times in Afghanistan have changed since the 20th century, the Taliban may not outlaw female education, and if they do, they may see conflict in the country. Many more historically conservative families, tribes, and groups in Afghanistan have opened up to the idea of their girls and women attending schools and having more rights. The duty of the UN is to keep providing resources to women and girls in Afghanistan (primarily education but other basic human rights as well), however, their duty if/when the Taliban are elected, are dependent on the current peace talks, what is made a requirement in regards to women’s rights and education, and even the presence of the UN and NGOs in-country.


Moghadam, Valentine M. “PATRIARCHY, THE TALEBAN, AND POLITICS OF PUBLIC SPACE IN AFGHANISTAN”. Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 19 – 31. 2002.

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. Afghan Women Must Participate Fully in Peace Process: Statement by Global Leaders and Foreign Policy Experts. September 2020.

Rahmani, Roya. Afghan Women Should Be the Centerpiece of the Peace Process. Foreign Policy. August 2020.

Human Rights Watch. Girls’ Access to Education in Afghanistan. October 2017.

Ferguson, Sarah. Getting Girls Back to School in Afghanistan. UNICEF. October 2019.

2. Student two
Martina Bizzotti
a. In what ways is the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights really universal?
Some academics believe that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a universal document. They argue that the paper holds an ethnocentric perspective as it was created by Western countries and based on Western values and norms, which have been imposed upon less important countries (Merry, 2003). They maintain a relativist position, upholding the importance of culture and tolerance. However, tolerance for other cultures does not mean that we need to turn our backs when grave crimes are committed against individuals. The UDHR was created to trump cultural differences and be applied in western and eastern countries equally.

The universality of the Declaration is given by the fact that a) the document was written by transnational actors that did not belong only to Western culture; b) the rights listed set universal standards that can be applied to all UN Members, without looking at particular situations; c) it has been elevated to jus cogens, which means that no one is exempt from it (United Nations, 2020; Merry, 2006). The UDHR is also universal because it has been purposely written for individuals rather than for communities or groups. It recognizes that while differences may exist between cultures, individuals should still be entitled to protection. After all, they exist beyond their group culture. Both western and non-western individuals are encouraged to fulfill their rights to the best of their ability, even within their own cultural beliefs. In fact, the Declaration is universal as it outlines principles that already exist within each culture, only enhancing the fact that they can be invoked when necessary (O’Connor, 2014; Constantinides, 2008)

Finally, Donnelly (2013) identifies three ways in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is universal, and more specifically, culturally universal since its creation was not based on any specific culture. First of all, the document is accepted by almost all states, which despite their different cultures, treat it as an internationally recognized authoritative statement; second, the human rights defined in the UDHR are part of comprehensive doctrines, whereas they applied to multiple areas and are the expression of values for different groups not of a single philosophical foundation; third, the UDHR outlines the best practices, and the necessary protection, to respond to specific threats to human dignity, inflicted by states to their citizens.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights may be attributed only to Western countries, but it was created by many actors coming from different countries and cultures. While we can argue that the document is only another attempt to influence less powerful countries, we cannot deny that it is widely recognized worldwide as the promoter of social practices that belong to every culture. In this sense, the UDHR is universal, because it exists to protect every individual and expresses values owned by each human being.


Constantinides, A. (2008). Questioning the universal relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Cuadernos Constitucionales de la Cátedra Fadrique Furió Ceriol, (62), 49-63.

Donnelly, J. (2013). Universal human rights in theory and practice. Cornell University Press.

Merry, S.E. (2003). Human Rights Law and the Demonization of Culture (And Anthropology Along the Way). Political and Legal Anthropology Review 26(1):55-76.

Merry, S. E. (2006) Anthropology and International Law. Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 99-116.

O’Connor, T. (2014, February 11). Debating Human Rights – universal or relative to culture? .Retrieved from

United Nations. (2020). History of the document. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved from

This is separate – do not answer anything related to this please. This is simply what I had to do before the comments.

Question for the discussion board –
Please select one of the following questions and provide a thoughtful and critical answer:

In what ways is the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights really universal?
In what ways might culture facilitate or impede universal human rights?
If the Taliban are elected, and then outlaw female education, what is the duty of the United Nations (or other such bodies) to do?
Your answer should be informed and approximately 400 words in length. When you upload your post on Discussion Board, make sure to do that by using the “create a thread” option and write the full question in the subject line to help the instructor to quickly allocate and evaluate your response.

[Submit original post by Saturday @ 11:59 pm and short responses (follow-up post to your peers’ post) by, Monday @11:59 pm]

Please Do Not forget to write the question that you are answering into the subject line while creating your thread

You are supposed to respond to the other two questions in at least 200 words as a comment to your classmates’ responses.

Readings & Resources

1-) Merry, Sally Engle 2003 Human Rights Law and the Demonization of Culture (And Anthropology Along the Way).

PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 26(1):55-76.

2-) Merry, Sally Engle 2006 Anthropology and International Law.

Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 99-116.

3-) Moghadam, V. M. 2002. Patriarchy, the Taleban, and politics of public space in Afghanistan

. In Women’s Studies International Forum 25(1):19-31. Pergamon.

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