On the coloniality of human rights

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The universality of human rights is delimited by what is considered to effectively constitute the state of being human in the first place. In addition to a secular-line that separated the divine from the human, the hegemonic modern Western concept of the human emerged in relation to an onto-Manichean colonial line that often makes human rights discourse inefficient for addressing modern colonialism, or complicit with it. For any decolonization of human rights to occur, there needs to be a decolonization of the concept of the human. Frantz Fanon's prayer to his body in Black Skin, White Masks offers a basis for building a decolonial humanism and humanities that counter the coloniality of human rights and serve as propaedeutics for any effort to make human rights relevant for decolonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-136
Number of pages20
JournalRevista Critica de Ciencias Sociais
Issue number114
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Colonialism
  • Coloniality
  • Decolonization
  • Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)
  • Human rights


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