Business, the state and human rights in Asia
Sixty years after the inception of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), the Asia-Pacifi c remains the only region in the world without a formal human rights mechanism. Because of this, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has prioritized the creation of an independent regional human rights mechanism with a mandate to protect and promote rights amongst the ASEAN member states. Nonetheless, human rights continue to be a contentious topic in a region where state offi cials often question the universal applicability of the rights doctrine, and have a habit of prioritizing economic development above civil liberties. Moreover, the onslaught of globalization has thrown international business into the spotlight as a major stakeholder in the rights discourse. This chapter presents contending theoretical perspectives of human rights and corruption, while highlighting the nexus between each issue. It then addresses the issue of human rights in Asia by asking: (1) Can a universal human rights doctrine be applied to Asia? (2) What is the state of human rights in Asia? (3) Why should the private sector protect and promote human rights in Asia?