Dr. Latifa Laghzaoui speaks at the Asia Centre on United Nations Day | Webster University Thailand

Dr. Latifa Laghzaoui speaks at the Asia Centre on United Nations Day

To mark United Nations Day on 24 October 2018, Dr Latifa Laghzaoui joined a panel of speakers at the Asia Center in Bangkok to discuss the human rights challenges facing Asia today.

Dr Latifa Webster

Titled “Rice Before Rights: Challenges of Advancing Human Rights in Asia”, the three other panelists included the Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Donica Pottie, Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Professor of International Relations and Director, Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka, and Dipendra K. C, Assistant Dean of the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University.

Dr Laghzaoui’s presentation about “the Why and How of China's Involvement in the International Human Rights System” focused on China’s recent efforts to seek greater political influence in human rights both domestically and internationally. By analyzing first the global scene within which China is now operating, Dr Laghzaoui noted how the world order has been tested by some critical events and trends including the crumbling of Western liberal democracies, an Arab region in turmoil and the emergence of new populist regimes. At the heart of what is being described as the “Easternisation of the world”, is China which is drawing on its economic power and industrial confidence to influence areas such as global politics and to strengthen its normative power and push for its own take on human rights. Dr Laghzaoui moved on to discuss the ways in which the Chinese leadership has been adopting at times aggressive actions in order to weaken international human rights mechanisms.

Such actions also include silencing and/or intimidating human rights activists and professionals in China and at the United Nations. The presentation concluded with some ideas and suggestions about the pivotal role different stakeholders - in particular the United Nations, civil society, and academia - must play in order to address the current human rights crisis we are facing.