I have just started a module with the title 'Global Justice and Human Rights', and am thoroughly enjoying it at the moment.
Yesterday we had a seminar on the construction of human rights and whether or not they are 'universal' or 'relative'. The universalist approach states that human rights are universal (hence the name!) and apply to everyone. EVERYONE has the right to life, the right to an education etc., regardless of where they live in the world. The relativist approach disagrees and says that we should not force our western liberal thinking on others, but that human rights are relative to the particular culture/people that we are talking about.
Both have their arguments for and against. Whilst it is easy to agree that we should not detract from someones culture and heritage, it is difficult to allow practices such as Female Genital Mutilation to go on without questioning the logic behind them.
It was interesting to note that in the seminar, when asked at the beginning of the session, 90%+ said that they were from a universalist persepective (as well as acknowledging the drawbacks that this has), but by the end of the lecture about the same proportion were now arguing relativist arguments!