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The politics of re-orientation and responsibility : European Union foreign policy and human rights promotion in Asian countries

This study focuses on the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of the external relations of the European Union (EU). It sets out to examine, in particular, the position of human rights within the framework of EU foreign policy. While questions of human rights sparked a wide-ranging academic debate and resulted in enhanced levels of public scrutiny over the last decade, the research presented in this dissertation attempts to fill a significant gap in scholarly attention. It does so by offering a critique of the theoretical approaches towards, and the practical manifestations of human rights promotion initiatives in the context of EU policy interaction with countries in Asia. Evidence from previous work, included as part of this dissertation, suggests that the incremental growth of human rights competencies and agendas within the EU's legal and political systems was reflected in a number of areas of concrete EU external activity, such as the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Development Policy, relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries and the EU's New Asia Strategy. This dissertation attempts to demonstrate how, in the context of a Constructivist perspective within International Relations Theory in general, and EU-Asia relations in particular, the EU can be conceptualised as a value-guided, 'ethical' polity, grounded in a constitutional framework of Treaties. As a result of this, the Union introdued a more pronounced human rights dimension to its dialogue with Asia. The evidence indicates that, in respect of its Asian partners, the EU implemented human rights strategies in a number or formats and with varying degrees of success. The study scrutinises, in particular, the Commission's 'strategy papers' on Asia and the Asia-Europe Meetings (ASEM). In addition to findings analysed in previous work, this study demonstrates that the resulting debates about 'rights' and 'values' can be related to wider discourses derived from normative theory and surrounding issues of culture and identity. In the Asia-EU dialogue, arguments over human rights contain the potential to be both an enabling dynamic for, and an inhibiting agent of, a more intensive EU-Asia political and cultural dialogue. The study places a particular emphasis on EU human rights promotion policies towards the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Indonesia and Burma (The Union of Myanmar). It identifies and appraises three distinct EU policy approaches ranging from incentives based and coordinated measures to a more coercive and punitive diplomatic arsenal.
Date January 2005
CreatorsWiessala, Eugen Georg
PublisherUniversity of Central Lancashire
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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