Conceptions of Democracy and Human Rights in Southeast Asia
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Southeast Asia is a vast, populous and diverse region. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aims to provide regional order and a basis for economic and security cooperation. It promotes democracy and human rights as central to this order. However, most ASEAN members are not democratic and have poor or questionable human rights records. Moreover, ASEAN has traditionally treated democracy and human rights as sensitive issues to be omitted from regional dialogue. This chapter introduces the key question of why and how political elites—member state representatives—in a regional institutional context construct a particular rhetoric around democracy and human rights. It explores this rhetoric in the context of the objectives of ASEAN regionalism and the domestic political contexts of individual member states.
KeywordsSoutheast Asia ASEAN Democracy Human rights Regionalism
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