Human rights as an international political project are closely tied to claims of universality. Attacks on the universality of human rights, however, are also widespread. And some versions of universalism are indeed theoretically indefensible, politically pernicious, or both. This essay explores the senses in which human rights can (and cannot) be said to be universal, the senses in which they are (and are not) relative, and argues for the "relative universality" of internationally recognized human rights.


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