What about practices that occur in other countries? Should I not be as concerned with the rape of a woman in Saudi Arabia as I am with that of a woman in the UK? And yet the American government has suggested that the recent decision to sentence a gang rape victim to 200 lashes is an â€˜internal Saudi decision‘ that it shouldn’t be interfering with.
Certainly the issue of state sovereignty is an important one, however America itself appears confused about its position. After all, it was the same government that justified invading Afghanistan in the name of women’s rights just a few years ago. As UncommonSense also suggests, it seems to me that the ‘cultural relativism’ card is less often about respect for difference and more often actually just another way of ignoring violence against women.
No doubt the usual suspects will come along in a bit complaining about ‘anti-American bigotry’, but there is a wider point to be made here. Like Zohra, I believe that individuals and organisations should apply the same standards of human rights to everyone, equally. So what if the laws in Saudi Arabia are different, that is no excuse to say it is acceptable for a woman to be treated so badly. And why shouldn’t we hold governments to the same standards?
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Filed in: Current affairs,Sex equality