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  4. March 2017 - Volume 87
  5. Addressing Human Rights Issues

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FOCUS March 2017 Volume 87

Addressing Human Rights Issues


The United Nations has developed a comprehensive set of policy and practical guides designed to address issues and situations affecting human rights in its member-states. These policy and practical guides are bases of recommendations of United Nations human rights bodies to member-states to improve human rights situations. And yet, there seems to be resistance by member-states to employing these guides at the national level.

Some member-states in Asia adopted weak laws on human rights because of their limited scope (in terms of situations and measures covered). There are also laws that provide governments the legal excuse for undertaking measures that could potentially violate human rights (including restrictions on freedom of expression to address national security issues, and limited definition of prohibited acts such as torture and illegal detention). Accountability for human rights violations does not appear to be important in these legal instruments.

There seems to be a trend of rewriting the meaning of human rights by adopting policy and other measures that do not adhere to international human rights standards. By overly emphasizing certain concerns (national security and even national development), the negative impact of these measures on human rights is disregarded.