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Human Rights in Eastern Civilisations

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Human Rights in Eastern Civilisations

Some Reflections of a Former UN Special Rapporteur

9781800883611 Edward Elgar Publishing
Surya P. Subedi, Professor of International Law, University of Leeds, Visiting Faculty Member on the International Human Rights Law Programme, University of Oxford, and Practising Barrister, Three Stone Chambers, London, UK
Publication Date: March 2021 ISBN: 978 1 80088 361 1 Extent: c 288 pp
Based on the author's first-hand experience as a UN Special Rapporteur, this thought-provoking and original book examines the values of Eastern civilisations and their contribution to the development of the UN Human Rights agenda. Rejecting the argument based on “Asian Values” that is often used to undermine the universality of human rights, the book argues that secularism, personal liberty and universalism are at the heart of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

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Based on the author's first-hand experience as a UN Special Rapporteur, this thought-provoking and original book examines the values of Eastern civilisations and their contribution to the development of the UN Human Rights agenda.

Offering an authoritative analysis of Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Surya P. Subedi, QC, focuses on the norms underpinning these two seminal Eastern philosophies to assess the extent to which the ancient civilisations already have human rights values embedded in them. Chapters explore the expression of values in the scriptures and practices of these philosophies, assessing their influence on the contemporary understanding of human rights. Rejecting the argument based on “Asian Values” that is often used to undermine the universality of human rights, the book argues that secularism, personal liberty and universalism are at the heart of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

The unique perspective offered by Human Rights in Eastern Civilisations will appeal to students, academics and researchers in a wide range of disciplines, including human rights, international law and relations, and religious studies.
Critical Acclaim
‘A timely and important contribution that explores the implications of the shift in economic and political power to Asia for the global human rights agenda pursued since 1948. Former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Surya Subedi writes from his unique perspective, including his knowledge of Hindu and Buddhist teachings, to argue that those significant religions share deeply-ingrained common values with those expressed in the UniversaI Declaration of Human Rights, and that the shift in global power will not lead to a turning away from the human rights agenda.’
– Charlotte Ku, Texas A&M University School of Law

‘Surya P. Subedi, now Professor of International Law at the University of Leeds, was born in a simple Nepali village and received a Sanskrit education until the age of 13. This book records his passionate and very personal attempt to bridge two worlds, to bring the world of his Brahmin ancestors, the Hindu civilization that they embodied, into harmony with the modern world of human rights and to show that there need be no contradiction, and indeed that human rights can receive succour from the well-springs of Hinduism and Buddhism.’
– David N. Gellner, University of Oxford, UK

This title is available for institutional purchase via Elgaronline.

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