Human rights a hot topic

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Human rights

Issues concerning human rights and China were hot topics at ACU’s Faculty of Law public lecture series in Melbourne.

Former US Ambassador to the Vatican Professor Mary Ann Glendon discussed the issue of human rights and China as part of ACU’s Faculty of Law Lecture Series at the University’s Melbourne Campus.

Professor Glendon is a Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a teacher and writer in the fields of comparative constitutional law, legal theory, property, and international human rights. She has lectured widely in the United States and Europe.

Topics such as religious freedom and the one-child policy in China were explored in the ACU public lecture Human Rights and China Today.

“The situation is different to the United States, where religious freedom relativises the power of the State,” she said.

“Human rights emerge from culture, and rights will never mean anything unless they integrate into culture.”

ACU Faculty of Law Senior Lecturer Dr Heather Forrest said Professor Glendon’s lecture began the series of public lectures with a challenging topic, which has direct relevance to ACU’s Law curriculum.

“In exploring China’s role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Professor Glendon knowledgeably encouraged reflection on contemporary human rights issues from both Western and Eastern perspectives,” she said.

In 2004, Pope John Paul II named Professor Glendon as the first woman to serve as President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Glendon was recently presented with an ACU Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her work in bioethics and her defence of human life and human rights.