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Universal justice and human rights: A dilemma of global utopia.

Anastasiadou, Mersilia
June 4, 2015

Source: (2012) Paper presented at the 1st International Symposium on Restorative Justice and Human Rights. 2-7 June 2012, Skopelos Island, Greece.

The concept of peace, liberty, democracy and justice were identified in humanity’s pursuit of life, liberty,
and happiness as essential values underlying this quest – the quest for an improved life. Kant’s conception
of ‘perpetual peace’ as a route for humanity to eliminate contradictions and conflicting phenomena that
lead to wars and to replace it with peace and harmony in the world continues to define the contemporary
concept of peace. This idealism was also expressed by Francis Fukuyama in his ‘’End of History’’ when he
wrote about justice and liberal democracy as the only lasting political ideology after the fall of the Soviet
imperium with US hegemony acting as the guardian of that ideology. Fukuyama’s dialectical approach
appears to have been utopian (in retrospect). However, as this paper argues, justice and liberal democracy
as universal goods did not achieve their aims, especially in parts of the world characterized by religious and
social unrest and socio-cultural contradictions. In this sense, there is a dilemma in terms of the utopian
ideals espoused and the global reality that followed and still follows. The reality emerging in the past two
decades after the collapse of USSR contradicts Fukuyama’s utopian ideal of liberal democracy spreading
around the world. This expectation was utopian primarily because liberalism and democracy are western
type values and systems that cannot be implemented automatically in every culture and part of the world.
We cannot witness only the absence of justice and rule of law worldwide but there is also a chasm of socio-
economic inequality that could eventually lead to an increasing threat for world peace. The stronger
powers continue to dominate the weak in parts of the world despite globalization and the declared
worldwide force of justice and rule of law. (author’s abstract)


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