Human Rights in an Unequal World

  • James Chiriyankandath
Part of the Palgrave Advances book series (PAD)


Since the end of the ideological stand-off of the Cold War human rights has emerged as one of the chief themes of international discourse. Yet this has not resulted in great advances in the realisation of rights, certainly in the developing world. Why? Principally because human rights remain contested and the terrain on which they have to be realised is extremely uneven. The language of rights continues to be used by states more to justify their practices than determine their actions. For instance, powerful western states often use human rights as a stick with which to beat non-western states regarded as hostile while soft pedalling abuses by friendly-or client states. On the other hand, in the 1990s the governments of some East Asian states promoted the notion of distinctive ‘Asian values’ to discredit criticism of their record on human rights and political freedom.


World Trade Organisation Security Council Human Development Index International Criminal Court Optional Protocol 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • James Chiriyankandath

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