Human dignity’ is considered a foundational human rights concept, appearing in the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the concept’s framing as ‘universal’ and its frequent use in human rights and development programmes around the world, in practice ‘human dignity’ does not easily translate into diverse cultural settings or languages. Centring on the case study of Cambodia, this project interrogates how ‘human dignity’ is constructed, conceptualised and negotiated in a context where no direct or ‘official’ translation exists. In a post-conflict state where responding to past violence, preventing future insecurity and building sustainable peace is an ongoing project, Cambodia provides an illuminating site for exploring the ways in which understandings of ‘human dignity’ within various individual, cultural and societal frames could present opportunities and/or challenges for the prevention of violence, human rights education and practice, and current approaches to building a sustainable, inclusive peace. The project runs from January 2021 to December 2022. Through document analysis, key informant interviews with professionals from various backgrounds on the topics and focus group discussions, an education guide and academic articles will be produced on the topic based on systematic analysis.
The research team includes Dr Rachel Killean, Queen’s University of Belfast, Ms Boravin Tann, CSHL, Dr Christoph Sperfeldt, University of Melbourne, Mr Kimsan Soy, CSHL, Prof Christopher McCrudden, Queen’s University of Belfast, Prof Hastings Donnan, Queen’s University of Belfast.
For research findings:
Research Brief on locating human dignity (English and Khmer): https://law.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLaw/research/publications/human-dignity-cambodia/
New Mandela Blog post: