International Human Rights Law and Diplomacy
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International Human Rights Law and Diplomacy

Kriangsak Kittichaisaree

This incisive book provides an unparalleled insight into the ways in which international human rights law functions in a real world context across cultural, religious and geopolitical divides. Written by a professor, former ambassador and international judge, the book demonstrates how power, diplomacy, tactics and processes operate within the human rights system from the perspective of a non-Western insider with more than three decades’ experience in the field.
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Chapter 2: Human rights universalism: myth or reality?

Kriangsak Kittichaisaree


Challenges by those called upon to uphold human rights are often based on the arguments that international human rights law has no universal legitimacy, embodying Western values, and that a State often pursues human rights agendas against another State despite its own human rights shortcomings because it wants to advance its selfish interests unrelated to human rights. However, the inspirational 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is universally legitimate, having been drafted with contributions from the world’s major religions and cultures. Accusation concerning double standards, past colonialism, self-exemption and so forth that may undermine the credibility of human rights advocacy can be dismantled by correctly answering the following questions: Why and against whom is a human rights issue raised? What is the objective of raising the issue? How is the issue raised? By whom is the issue to be raised? When is the opportune moment to raise the issue?

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