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There was a degree of optimism when in 2008 the leaders of Southeast Asian nations announced the creation of a regional human rights commission to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of Southeast Asia. The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights was established in 2009 with a mandate to uphold internationally recognised human rights standards in ‘a regional context, bearing in mind national and regional particularities and mutual respect for different historical, cultural and religious backgrounds, and taking into account the balance between rights and responsibilities.’
In this seminar, Dr Renshaw examines the human rights developments that have taken place in Southeast Asia since the signing of the ASEAN Charter in 2007. In doing so she addresses two issues which stand at the heart of human rights theory and practice. The first is whether and how human rights can be promoted and implemented in and among states that are not liberal democracies. The second is whether regional human rights institutions have the potential to influence human rights practices in ways that global institutions cannot. These are issues which concern not only international human rights lawyers, but scholars and students of political science, international relations and global studies.
Dr Catherine Renshaw is Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Thomas More Law School at Australian Catholic University. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney. Her research background includes working as Research Fellow and Director of an Australian Research Council Project based at the Australian Human Rights Centre at the University of New South Wales. Catherine’s current research focuses on human rights and democratisation in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly on religious minorities and the operation of the rule of law in politically and ethnically divided societies. Her most recent books are Human Rights and Participatory Politics in Southeast Asia (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019) and Experts, Networks and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016).