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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on human rights in Asia and the Pacific. On the level of purely legal commitments, the great majority of Asian and Pacific states have ratified both of the two major UN human rights treaties, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the most developed of the sub-regional organizations with respect to human rights, although that development has been fairly recent and, to date, relatively minimal. However, attempts to characterize or distinguish different approaches to human rights in Asia frequently include reference to a number of arguments put forward to justify Asian exceptionalism in this field. Perhaps the most widely asserted argument contends that ‘Asian values’ are different from the Western values that animate today’s international human rights norms.

Keywords: human rights, Asia, Pacific, ASEAN, economic rights, social rights, cultural rights, civil rights, political rights

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