UNIVERSALISM OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CONSTITUTION: SAFE AND DANGEROUS RELATIVIZATIONS
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During the recent decades, the issue of human rights has been the subject of serious controversy among philosophers, political scientists and lawyers. This universal debate was concentrated on a dispute between the supporters of the two opposite concepts - universalism and relativism. The author agrees with those scholars who attempt to reconcile these two extreme approaches to the essence of the individual's rights. In his view, human rights have in fact a universal nature, which does not mean that they are free from some relativizations. This article provides two examples of such situations. The first type of relativization, called by the author a cultural one, is described on the example of the so-called cultural defence. This type of relativization, even if controversial, is relatively safe from the point of view of the essence of human rights, since it does not violate the principle of inherent dignity of the individual. A more considerable threat is posed by instrumental relativization, specified as a second type. The author describes it on the example of a discussion held in the recent years on a very controversial problem of legalization of torture justified by a serious threat to legal order, e.g. in the case of the so-called ticking bomb scenario. In this case, the inherited dignity of the person will be seriously endangered. In the author's view, creation of the ideal list of constitutional rights and freedoms of the individual should take into account three inter-connected perspectives: universal, regional and cultural, and national. Poland's Constitution of 1997 'prima facie' meets that requirement, since it refers to different systems of values and historical traditions: human-in-general, European and Christian, and Polish.
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