Problem praw człowieka z perspektywy azjatyckiej
The question of human rights from an Asian perspective
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The elaboration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN in 1948 constitutes undoubtedly a turning point in the world history and one of the most significant European contributions to humanity. However, it should be acknowledged that the concept of human rights from the very beginning was involved in political struggle and up to now is manipulated by governments, politicians and various groupings for their purposes. Being deeply rooted in the Christian intellectual tradition its universal implementation faces various difficulties in the countries that belong to other traditions, in particular Confucian and Buddhist. Among the principal problems in the Asia-Pacific region the author points out a collectivist notion of an individual and different interpretation of "freedom", as well as absence of the legal tradition and the emphasis on obligations rather than on rights. In addition, law is perceived there in a different way than in the West. This results in a widely diffused "obedient approach" and rare manifestations of dissent or opposition. Therefore, in the Asia-Pacific region two elements, crucial to "human rights", are lacking: an autonomous individual as a subject and the recognition of innate rights. Moreover, the Confucian political tradition elaborated a different concept and structure of state. In the Western tradition that originates from absolutistic monarchies, only the state has means and rights to oppress its citizens, so there were conditions for an evolution of "human rights" and of "civil society". On the other hand, in East Asia the everyday "administration" and oppression were usually exercised by various non-government structures (clans, families and local communities), that could even conduct executions. ln this context, in addition to the state oppression, one faces there, much more tangible and sometimes painful "social oppression", whereas the state could even be perceived as beneficial, restricting such an oppression. Thus to a certain extent the "proto-civil society" was much more oppressive there than the very distant state structures...
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