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Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights$
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Thomas Banchoff and Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195343397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343397.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 May 2021

Buddhism, Human Rights, and Non-Buddhist Minorities

Buddhism, Human Rights, and Non-Buddhist Minorities

(p.157) 7 Buddhism, Human Rights, and Non-Buddhist Minorities
Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights

Charles Keyes

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the actual human rights practices of governments in societies in which Buddhism is the majority religion. These are Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), Burma (Myanmar), Thailand (formerly known as Siam), Cambodia, and Bhutan. Although Buddhist teachings that emphasize peace, harmony, and nonviolence are compatible with universal rights claims, it is shown that Buddhist-majority governments have been anything but favorable toward human rights. Historically, the politics of human rights in South and Southeast Asia has played out against a backdrop of colonialism and imposed Western cultural and religious patterns. In the recent decades since independence, the central questions have come to focus on the Buddhist majority's treatment of religious minorities. For example, in Sri Lanka the government's response toward uprisings among the Tamil Hindu and Muslim minorities has been a source of long-standing controversy.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Buddhists, human rights, religious minorities

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