22 April 2013

Hands holding barbwire fence Did you know Australia is the only western democracy without a Charter or Bill of Human Rights? A visiting expert will shed light on the complex issues that surround the basic need to protect our human rights at a free lecture at the University of South Australia on April 23.

Jointly presented by the Hawke Centre and the Global Experience Program at UniSA, the lecture will be delivered by Pavel Molek from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. The law academic will provide an overview of universal human rights and explain why they need to be protected.  

“Human rights are constitutionally or internationally guaranteed freedoms and rights of the individual towards the state,” Molek says.

“They define the basic boundary between the state (or other public bodies) and the individual, they answer the question of what are the fundamental boundaries and they determine where the state can stretch its hand without punching an abstract nose of any individual.”

The lecture will detail the complex system used to protect human rights in Europe and consider how Australia could also implement legislation that protects human rights. Molek says there is a lot to learn from European countries, whose human rights protection systems can be confusing.   

“In Europe, we have a somewhat chaotic system to protect human rights – there are too many different legal systems protecting the human rights of every single European individual: usually four of them (domestic level, EU, Council of Europe and universal level) but in federal states possibly five of them," he says. 

“For example, you can have some rights because you are Bavarian, some because you are German, some because you live in EU, some because you live in a member state of the Council of Europe and some because you are human, which makes the protection really overwhelming and confusing.

“I hope the Australian public can consider this system and make comparisons about what might work in this country. My lecture should finish with a question mark, not with a full stop.”

The lecture Who is protecting our human rights? will be held this Tuesday, April 23 at the BH2-09 lecture hall UniSA City West campus, Barbara Hanrahan Building (ground floor), 55 North Terrace, Adelaide. To register for the event, go to www.hawkecentre.unisa.edu.au.

Molek’s visit to Australia was organised by the organisation AIM Overseas.

Media Contact

Rosanna Galvin office (08) 8302 0578 mobile 0434 603 457 email rosanna.galvin@unisa.edu.au

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