International human rights law and mechanisms tasked with promoting state compliance with it are being increasingly challenged. Opposition is originating from, amongst others, countries that have historically supported the global human rights project. These new trends and sites of contestation bolster opposition from other countries and regions that have consistently diverged from international human rights norms. Examining the relationship between the United Nations human rights system and states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in this broader context of opposition to human rights, this article argues that existing theories on why states do, or ought to, comply with international human rights law are often inadequate to either explain or inspire state adherence to human rights norms. What is required, this article will argue, is not another theory but rather more targeted and incremental efforts to address the gap between rhetoric and compliance.