"Codifying Minority Rights Postcolonial Constitutionalism in Burma, Ceylon, and India"

Cambridge University Press

This chapter recasts the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in light of the decolonization of India, Burma, and Ceylon in the late 1940s. At the same time that the United Nations drafted its first human rights instrument, decolonizing nations in Asia drafted national constitutions and debated how to define rights in their future independent states. Postcolonial constitutions reflected many of the same concerns that arose at the UN Human Rights Commission, but they delved into issues of minority rights and the relationship between fundamental rights and state sovereignty in greater depth than was possible at the international level. This chapter examines the entangled rights-making processes of the United Nations and Asian decolonization, which together constitute a fuller understanding of the rights ideas in circulation in the postwar era.



  • A. Dirk Moses
  • Marco Duranti
  • Roland Burke

Publication Type

Book Name

Decolonization, Self-Determination, and the Rise of Global Human Rights Politics