The UN Human Rights agenda and the institutions that created and uphold it are often criticised for their Western-centric dominance and focus. Inherent in this criticism is the idea that human rights are exclusively Western and not equally applicable to other contexts such as Asia.
In his recent book, Human Rights in Eastern Civilisations: Some Reflections of a Former UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Subedi examines the values of Eastern civilisations and their contribution to the development of the UN Human Rights agenda. He rejects the concept of “Asian Values” which is often used to undermine the universality of human rights and instead argues that secularism, personal liberty and universalism are at the heart of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He demonstrates how cross-fertilisation of values between Eastern and Western civilisations has taken place and how the notion of the universality of human rights has been enriched by the values of different civilisations.