Asian Criticism of the Western Concept of Human Rights

  • Veronika Štekláčová
Keywords: Human rights, universalism, cultural relativism, Asian values, Asian values debate, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia


The objective of this analysis is to introduce the concept of Asian values and, more particularly, the Asian concept of human rights. The Asian debate on human rights centres around issues such as the human rights generations, individual versus collective rights, rights of states, and the relationship between rights and duties. The criticism of the Western concept of human rights constitutes an inseparable part of this debate. This analysis thus aims at bringing forth a greater understanding of this issue through the study of cultural relativism, which is prominent in the criticism levelled at Western societes. This study starts with defining two core theoretical concepts of human rights – universalism and cultural relativism. Consequently it presents the major features of the Asian values debate and Asian criticism, illustrating them on the case of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Author Biography

Veronika Štekláčová