Following the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998, most of the articles contained under the European Convention on Human Rights 1951 (ECHR) have now become directly enforceable in English courts. The rights contained have varying degrees of application. Some are absolute and inalienable and cannot be interfered with by the state; others are subject to derogation, and the signatory states can opt out of them in particular circumstances. International protections of human rights apply regardless of cultural or national practices, and the incorporation of the ECHR into law means that states recognise the importance of specific human rights and national courts are allowed to decide cases in line with the articles of the ECHR. That said, the twin concepts of universality and cultural relativism are said to make the application of human rights a balancing act. In particular, while some of the human rights provisions are universal, others are defined by individual culture and democracy. Consequently, it is essential that the imposition of universally acceptable human rights, to an extent, needs to align with national cultural identity. Critically discuss.
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