chapter  3
28 Pages

National Human Rights Commissions in Asia

BySonia Cardenas

Asia is unique in the domain of international human rights law: it is the only major region of the world that does not have a human rights treaty or commission. This chapter is the demand by a vast transnational movement that states conform to international human rights norms. It focuses on the creation of national human rights commissions by governments in the region. The chapter examines why governments have responded to a transnational human rights challenge by creating national human rights commissions. It overviews of a key debate—state sovereignty versus human rights—that serves to introduce both the transnational human rights challenge and the creation by so many governments in the region of national human rights commissions. The chapter focuses on the cases of the Philippines, Indonesia, and India. It discusses four specific arenas in which India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has encroached on state sovereignty: agenda setting, rule creation, accountability, and socialization.