Human Rights in Eastern Civilisations
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Human Rights in Eastern Civilisations

Some Reflections of a Former UN Special Rapporteur

Surya P. Subedi

Based on the author's first-hand experience as a UN Special Rapporteur, this thought-provoking and original book examines the values of Eastern civilisations and their contribution to the development of the UN Human Rights agenda. Rejecting the argument based on “Asian Values” that is often used to undermine the universality of human rights, the book argues that secularism, personal liberty and universalism are at the heart of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
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Chapter 6: Human rights challenges in a country with a Hindu-Buddhist heritage: A case study of Cambodia

Surya P. Subedi


This chapter analyses the challenges and opportunities of a country with a Hindu-Buddhist heritage, Cambodia, to embrace the modern conceptions of human rights as outlined in various UN human rights treaties. It covers the journey of Cambodia to democracy, rule of law and human rights, as a case study analyzing the author’s experience of serving as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia for six years. Over the course of his employment as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, he witnessed first-hand Cambodia’s attempts to transit from its tragic past to a peaceful democracy and assisted both the government and the opposition party and other stakeholders in Cambodian society to achieve their objectives. Therefore, this chapter offers the author’s reflections in his endeavour to promote human rights, democracy and rule of law in Cambodia.

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