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  4. June 1997 - Volume 8
  5. Seeing Situations As They Are

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FOCUS June 1997 Volume 8

Seeing Situations As They Are


Human rights debates become stale when they begin to deviate from the realities faced by people. The Asian va- lues debate is one such futile exercise as it is merely used by governments for political ends rather than as means to respect human rights. Discussions on how human rights can change people's lives for the better is the need. To achieve this, situations of people should be seen as they really are. This rule applies to the question of human rights and culture. Human rights is not always consonant with the actual thinking and beliefs of people. This the reality. The problem here is not so much on the thinking and beliefs but on the means of linking them to human rights - enhancing their positive aspects while having sincere dialogue to whatever extent possible on the negative ones . Seeing situations as they are creates therefore the space for the development of appropriate steps toward realizing human rights. It is in line with this view that HURIGHTS OSAKA engaged in a research on human rights and cultural values in Asia. It is not the expectation that cultural values will automatically find convergence with the principles of human rights. Rather, it is assumed that both conflicts and convergences will be uncovered. And indeed conflicts and convergences abound in looking at the specific cultural values in Asian countries. This research project will hopefully contribute to enriching the idea of human rights and clarifying areas for productive engagements with culture. This issue of FOCUS Asia-Pacific features highlights of research papers that deal with the cultures in India and Japan. With limited space, much of the details and discussions in the research papers cannot be included. The same is true for the other research papers which will be featured in the next issues of this newsletter. The complete version of the research papers will be published soon in book form.