As the government begins its ‘overhaul’ of human rights, an article by Professor Surya P. Subedi QC, a member of Three Stone Chambers, published in the latest issue (July 2022) of Counsel magazine, the flagship publication of the Bar Council of England, invites us to look at the wider and historic  context and how Eastern and Western civilisations and values have contributed to their development.

His article entitled ‘Human rights from East-West Perspectives’ makes a contribution to the ongoing debate about decolonising the curriculum in universities around the globe and a call for the use of more inclusive and diverse sources for teaching. International human rights law literature and United Nations human rights reports and publications are replete with assertions that human rights are universal. Yet how ‘universal’ are these human rights? What is the basis of the assertion of the universality of human rights? Are they universal because the Universal Declaration says so; or because the Declaration and the core UN human rights treaties have received near-universal acceptance? Do they emanate from all major civilisations or religions of the world to qualify as universal? And if so, what contributions have the Eastern civilisations made to the universality of human rights?

Professor Subedi argues that these are the questions that need to be answered with reference to the values of the major civilisations of the world.

Read the article in full here.

Professor Surya P. Subedi QC, DCL, OBE