As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 2018–2019, the region of Southeast Asia highlights two compelling political phenomena: the emergent ‘authoritarian populism’ of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and the return to the ‘Asian Values’ of Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia.
Seventy years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly, what we have witnessed is that its claim of universality has been consistently challenged. While all human beings are deemed born automatically free with equal rights, the very definition of human itself in practice is not always neutral.
Seventy years after the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and twenty-five years of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programmes of Action (VDPA), human rights are found in country’s constitutions and also incorporated in regional instruments. However, there is no issue as heated as the universality character of human rights.