How regional organizations respond to human rights: ASEAN’s ritualism in comparative perspective

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article builds a framework comparing how different regional organizations respond to human rights. Moving beyond Eurocentric beliefs that organizations either reject or unambiguously adopt rights, I present four categories of response: antagonism, ritualism, supportive, and embracing. I examine these categories conceptually and empirically, providing examples of how different regional organizations exemplify these categories. Next I detail how ASEAN’s approach to rights represents ritualism, combining support for human rights institutions without agreement on the moral worth of human rights. ASEAN’s ritualism is a product of the requirement to retain traditional commitments to nonintervention while responding to pressure to institutionalize human rights. Ritualism both legitimates human rights and normalizes their violation. Drawing on a comparison with the Inter-American system, I suggest three developments to ASEAN’s system that offer a plausible path for improving human rights governance in Southeast Asian regionalism without falling foul of political reality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-262
    JournalJournal of Human Rights
    Volume20
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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