Locating ‘Human Dignity’ in Cambodia

Project status


'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 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. 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.

Research team

Dr Rachel Killean, Queen's University Belfast; Professor Hastings Donnan, Queen's University Belfast; Mr Kimsan Soy, Center for the Study of Humanitarian Law, Cambodia

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