Professor Shad Faruqui - Human Rights: Reflections of the East and Perceptions of the West - 18 December


"Human Rights: Reflections of the East and Perceptions of the West" submits that most advocates of human rights in Asia accept the imperative of some core human rights values but find it impossible to deny the influence of religion, culture, economy and history on their perceptions of what is the good and worthwhile life. There is genuine disquiet about equating everything "Western" with what is universal and dismissing concerns of the peoples of Asia and Africa as purely parochial. There is in many Asian minds a genuine attempt to resist the sweep of hegemonic Western values. While it is conceded that "Asian values" are often abused by authoritarian governments to douse the flames of freedom, it is also asserted that Western espousal of human rights is often used to promote a narrow Westcentric view of human civilisation and to secure unfair advantages for Europe and America in the post cold war era.