Integrate human rights and culture
Publish Date: Feb 05, 2014
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By Sylvia Nakalema

The World over, all societies have various traditions, morals, beliefs, customs, norms and values that guide people to live meaningfully and harmoniously.

All these are transmitted from generation to generation through culture. Taylor E. B. defines culture as "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, custom and any other capabilities and habits as acquired by man as a member of society", while Malinowski B. defines it as "the handwork of man and the medium through which he achieves his ends.” This, therefore, means that a society becomes incomplete without a proper understanding of its culture since culture and society are intertwined. Man is born and brought up in a cultural environment, whereupon culture includes all that man acquires in his social life.

Traditionally, most African traditions cherished values related to marriage, child birth, and hard work, among others. On the other hand, human rights activists and bodies have helped desensitise communities on some inhumane acts including early marriage, female genital mutilations, and child sacrifice, which is a laudable thing. During this contentious period, let all stakeholders including political leaders, churches, institutions and more so ‘human rights activists reflect on cultural traditions and instead help preserve culture. Let us preserve cultural morals and the lives of young generations.

No culture ever remains constant: it is subject to slow but constant change, being dynamic as it is. Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of the physical, moral, intellectual and political world, among others. So, let us selectively borrow from the Western world only what benefits us as a social whole.

Lecturer -Uganda Martyrs University

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