In This Review

Human Rights in Asia
Human Rights in Asia
Edited by Thomas W. D. Davis and Brian Galligan
Edward Elgar Pub, 2011, 256 pp

Asian governments no longer reject the universality of human rights in principle, as some did as recently as the 1990s. Instead, they seek to interpret those norms in ways that are consistent with priorities such as political stability and interethnic harmony. Many governments have adopted new laws and established human rights commissions or other national human rights institutions. But these have been powerless to prevent such abuses as the revival of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the unchecked use of violence by the police during the war on drugs in Thailand under former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Governments throughout the region continue to justify repression with a mix of culturalist and security arguments. None­theless, the group of mostly Australia-based contributors to this book believe that pressure from local civil-society groups and transnational advocacy networks are gradually strengthening the force of the human rights idea in the region.