Development and Human Security in Asia: An Analysis From Human Rights and Cultural Relativism Point of View

This paper attempts to discuss the conflict between the liberal doctrine of Universal Human Rights and cultural relativism from the viewpoint of development and human security in Asia. Using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a reference point it discusses the levels of conflict between human rights standard and cultural differences in developing Asia, particularly in their pathways of economic and social development. It also discusses the criticisms about universal human rights doctrine from a Relativist point of view and responses from a Universalist approach. This essay aims to consider various claims about ‘Asian Values’ made in relation to development and human rights to find the Asian way of promoting human development and security. From the theoretical discussions and case studies of Asia, what becomes clear is that the Universal Human Rights doctrine does not have to be abandoned on the grounds of cultural diversity and development. Therefore, for promoting development and human security in Asia the way forward is to work on a better and more impartial implementation of human rights doctrine rather than leaving it to governments to judge which culture is worth protecting and which elements of a culture can be legitimately oppressed.

Author: Hossain, Md Shanawez
Type: Working Paper
Year: 2015