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    Peer Reviewed

    The rape of Dinah: human rights, civil war in Liberia, and evil triumphant.

    Cain KL

    Human Rights Quarterly. 1999; 21:265-307.

    Human rights advocates and UN officials offered themselves fulsome praise and congratulations at the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 for including in the final Vienna Declaration the assertion that "[t]he universal nature of these [human] rights and freedoms is beyond question." Specific controversy at the conference over "universalism" arose out of an important but abstruse debate between the human rights community and leaders of a few authoritarian Asian states who argue that collectivist "Asian values" somehow supercede the specific tenets of the human rights doctrine. The principle at stake, however, is profound. One overly fecund laboratory for inquiry into the international community's sincerity in undertaking to act upon the principle of the universality of human rights is the oldest republic on the African continent. Liberia has no strategic importance. It enjoys no diplomatic or political cachet in international circles. Liberia's immediate environs are bereft of the intercontinental air facilities, luxury hotels, and exotic "rest and recreation" destinations that tend to attract journalists and itinerant young human rights activists. Liberia and its human rights catastrophe have, therefore, been ignored by the media, scholars, the human rights community, the United States, and the United Nations. (excerpt)
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