People, Rights and Human Rights

Human rights are universal, but at the same time this universality raises a lot of questions. The human rights debate is often used to denounce abuses in other countries (including in Asia) but is equally often subject to misuse.

Western countries have always tended to criticize other countries (their former colonies, communist countries or other non-democratic countries, for example) about their non-observance of human rights. That the human rights debate is misused, does not mean that no human rights violations are committed. The interdependence of Asia and Europe has not only advantages, it also facilitates human rights violations when, for example Asian migrants, both in Europe and in Asia itself, are forced to work in deplorable conditions. The globalisation of human rights issues also means that protecting human rights can no longer be left to sovereign states. It is a problem for all of us, for which we have to find common solutions that take into account the cultural and political distinctiveness of individual countries. It is therefore all the more important to have a factually correct and practically adequate understanding of people, rights and human rights in Asia and the different ways in which human rights manifest themselves.