Human Rights, Singaporean Style

4 January 2010

Garry Rodan has written an essay on human rights in Singapore, see below for an excerpt. The full article can viewed at the link here.

Human Rights, Singaporean Style
by Garry Rodan

Posted December 4, 2009

While there has been a lull in the debate over “Asian values” since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, the concept never disappeared. The development of a regional human-rights commission constitutes a fresh battleground where competing views are playing out. As in the past, the main interlocutors on the side of cultural relativism are Singaporean leaders and officials, but this time, opposing voices within Southeast Asia have grown louder and more self-confident.

Forming the Asian Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has taken more than a decade of wrangling. Launched by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in October, the commission is the result of a protracted and contentious process of compromise. Now the fledgling organization faces an uphill struggle to show it can make political and bureaucratic elites accountable on human rights.