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PSIR 2A-11.2 Human Rights – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss the importance of personal data protection in the context of human rights. [2019/15m/200w/3c]

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights says that; “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”.

The advent of the 21st century saw a revolution, an age of information or a data-centric world. This data have the power to run corporates and even states. Personal Data have been used to manipulate people’s choice of clothes to the election of President (Facebook – Cambridge Analytica case)

Although the data help the governments to make better policies for the people, the flip side is that all this personal information can lead to intrusions and interferences with people’s private lives. This can be distressing and damaging for individuals.

Privacy and personal data protection are a challenge in the digital era. In particular, because internet-based communications are notoriously difficult to police. There is a rise of data-hungry applications like search engines, targeted advertising platforms or social networks, and the data is used for various methods of online surveillance by both private and governmental entities. Thus, the alleged borderless nature of digital technology also leads to a complicated set of normative and policy questions

Countries, especially in the developing world, do not have policies for personal data protection as it is a new development. This gives the MNCs an opportunity to exploit the people of these developing countries who have no protection from their states. Data is a useful and powerful tool, the storage and use of personal information should be at the service of people and not their exploitation. [275 words]

2] Critically examine the notion of Asian values in the context of the ongoing debates on human rights. [2018/20m/250w/4a]

Cultural and value differences between Asia and the West were stressed by several official delegations at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna. The foreign minister of Singapore even warned that “universal recognition of the ideal of human rights can be harmful if universalism is used to deny or mask the reality of diversity.”

The thesis is that Asian values are less supportive of freedom and more concerned with order and discipline than Western values and that the claims of human rights in the areas of political and civil liberties are, therefore, less relevant in Asia than in the West. The thesis also serves as the defence of authoritarianism in Asia on grounds of the special nature of Asian values, and the line of justification that argues for authoritarian governance in the interest of economic development in Asia.

Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore and a great champion of “Asian values,” has also defended authoritarian arrangements on the ground of their alleged effectiveness in promoting economic success.

As suggested by cultural relativists, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is based on the Western notion of rights and should not be imposed on other cultures. This temptation to see Asia as one unit reveals, in fact, a distinctly Eurocentric perspective.

Moreover, it should be remembered that it is never a bad idea to absorb from other cultures that which is good. Even the Western cultures were not similar to what they are now. They evolved to become secular and provide equal rights to women and minorities. Hence, if the values, western or not, are helping people to achieve or strive to achieve their best self, they should not be measured based on nation or identity. [289 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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