Human Rights in Asia

Human Rights in Asia

Edited by Thomas W.D. Davis and Brian Galligan

Does the increasing prominence of Asia also mark a new era for human rights in the region? This timely book uncovers the political drivers behind both recent regional and country-based changes to the recognition, promotion and protection of rights.

Preface

Edited by Thomas W.D. Davis and Brian Galligan

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, public policy

Extract

Our aim in this book is to explore human rights in Asia from a mainly political perspective. Asian countries are now engaging with human rights, albeit unevenly and in complex ways. The distraction of ‘Asian values’ has largely passed, and the politics of influencing regime change and government behaviour with respect to human rights are a major part of the politics of most countries. The authors in this collection use different approaches to highlight the current politics of rights protection in a range of Asian countries. Indicative of this new era, even countries like Singapore and Malaysia that previously eschewed human rights are now participating in Asian forms of accommodation. Nine of the twelve chapters focus on particular Asian countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, India and China. These are countries with huge differences in population; contrasting political histories, cultures and current political economy circumstances; and, not surprisingly, major differences in their records of rights protection. Despite these differences, however, there are similarities that justify our Asian focus on rights protection. Seven of the countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar – are members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in 2009 inaugurated the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). Even though this new organisation is severely qualified by other principles of national sovereignty, non-interference and respect for different cultures, and has no enforcement role, it represents a significant milestone in the adoption by Asian countries of universal human rights...