Academia, Opinion

Another Assignment; Short Review

Tulisan yang saya posting kali ini adalah tugas ketiga saya di semester ini. Saya harus membaca 3 jurnal dalam satu hari dan membuat reviewnya masing-masing 250 kata (tergolong tugas paling mudah dan ringan hanya 250 kata). Membaca dalam waktu singkat adalah tugas yang tidak mudah. Selain karena Bahasa Inggris, saya yang terbiasa membaca novel dan komik masih belum bisa membaca artikel ‘berat’ dengan Bahasa ilmiah tingkat dewa. Apalagi saya termasuk malas membaca jurnal kala S1. So, lengkaplah sudah problem membaca cepat ini. Ditambah kemampuan analisis saya yang masih sangat tumpul dan terbatas. Saya masih kaku dalam mengkritisi pendapat penulis, mencari kekurangan dan kelebihan, memberikan saran, menempatkannya dalam keilmuan saya, dan tidak hanya terbatas pada hal tersebut kita juga harus memahami dimana posisi kita sebagai pembaca, jika setuju maka harus berikan alasan kuat mengapa pendapat penulis bisa diterima, apakah hanya karena penulis sangat persuasif dalam tulisannya ataukah ada alasan lain yang lebih relevan. Jika tidak setuju, berikan alasan kuat kenapa tidak sependapat dan seterusnya. Dan masih banyak lagi pertanyaan yang harus dijawab. Pembaca dituntut untuk filosofis, rasional dan aktif dalam membaca. Tidak serta merta menerima semua pendapat si penulis, tapi juga mempertanyakan diri sendiri (dengan bekal pengetahuan yang relevan ttg topik), apakah setuju atau tidak? dan juga kenapa. Selamat membaca dan semoga bermanfaat.

Langlois, Anthony. ‘Human Rights’. in An Introduction to International Relations. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University (2012). p. 340-349.
This book chapter mainly discusses history and development of human rights. It starts from explaining historical context of its conception, on how it become one key principle in international relations today to future challenges. The writer argues that intellectual and political environment remarkably matter in the development of human rights. He also criticizes the two major schools behind human rights (legal positivism and liberal universalism). Positivists` attachment to legal products, for instance Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Covenants, may lead to reduction of human rights. It limits the scope of human rights to certain legal instruments which may no longer exist or transform if the system fails or changes. On the other hand, the liberal universalists, who say that human rights is universal in nature, are confronted by cultural relativists who believe otherwise. The prospect of human rights is not quite clear. It has ability to satisfy international moral standard but lacks in reception and implementation. The challenges of human rights remain within international politics depending on institutional and political circumstances. This chapter is a sufficient source for student or beginner to understand human rights but it fails to provide practical solutions. As an introductory chapter to human rights, it solely examines historical aspect of idea development but it does not provide solutions to counter future challenges or even writer`s position in the debate. It does not cover the conditions required to implement human rights nor it provides how human rights debate should contribute to future development.

Moyn, Samuel. ‘The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History’. London: Harvard University Press (2010). P. 11-43
First, unlike other writer starts writing about human rights with definition, Moyn does not even define human rights. Second, instead of restating its keystone date back to cosmopolitan era, he states that human rights only recently emerge. He argues that prior to WW II, no certain humanity values are introduced as human rights we know today, even by cosmopolitan scholars. They talk more about citizenship rather than human right, state rather than individual. Natural law claimed to be basis of human rights is a personal right within state. In addition, instable 1940s is unfavourable time to set human rights as international moral standard. It is in 1970s that human rights is founded following the decline of opponent views (socialism and anti-communism). It is neither due to moral consciousness after WW II nor initial respond to holocaust. In fact, it is due to dissatisfaction over international politics in defending human dignity. The purpose of his history reconstruction is to show that human rights is ‘the last utopia’ stands as international relations foundation when other ‘utopias’ wither. It may survive or vanish like other concepts in the future. The book goes from challenging well-known idea, alerting of its vulnerability to stirring human rights debate rather than ending it. It also does not include current development to his book for instance worldwide human rights abuses sometime in the name of protecting human rights or the fact that human rights is initiated to be freed from politics but currently it seems to be too political.

Donnelly, Jack. ‘The Relative Universality of Human Rights’. Human Rights Quarterly. vol. 29 (2007). p. 281-306
Donnelly, a human rights scholar since 1980, tries to bridge two sides of human rights debate; universalist and relativist. From different aspects and views, human rights can be universal or relative. He argues that one must understand human rights properly to see the probability of various entities to fit within universality. He believes that human rights is undoubtedly compatible to diverse cultures due to relative universality of human rights. He explores the universality of human rights by providing many layers of questions within debate to show how relative universality might be. Although anthropological and ontological universality are fragile against challenges, conceptual, functional, international legal and overlapping consensus universality are reasonable. He believes that human rights is universal but states implementation is relative. However, the writing itself is obscure. It is confusing since it jumps from one universality to others without actually connecting them at some point. From conceptual to overlapping universality, nothing has common trait. The article shows a clear well-organized structure but it has less coherent logic especially between versions of universality. Beginner reader will find it hard to comprehend the essence of arguments in the article. People usually answer whether human rights is universal or relative by seeing historical and cultural account behind its construction. This article will help to understand better human rights debate from different perspectives. In his effort to defend universality, Donnelly also gives credit to its opponent as attempt to prevent arrogant and abusive powerful states from using universal human rights as personal means.

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