The language of rights 2

February 20, 2004

Bikhu Parekh makes sensible points about the fractured discourse of rights but directly contradicts much of his earlier writing. His dissertation was on Bentham, but he has been promulgating group rights instead of universalism.

The Runnymede report on multi-ethnic Britain (the Parekh report) was couched in the language of rights for ethnic minorities. Among these were the removal of anything that might conceivably offend this or that group, such as changing the Union Jack and the word Britain. The report panel, chaired by Parekh, included sometime council members of Liberty or other human rights groups. Most race relations legislation since has been based on human rights principles as has much of the multicultural agenda.

Now he asks us to drop some rights because it might offend Muslim women.

Does he mean Muslim women asserting rights in Britain? Or Muslim women who are being denied their rights in Muslim countries?

Angela Pinter
London

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