Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Commonwealth, Capital Punishment, the History of Human Rights, etc.

I've done an issue of Opinions, which is published by the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau, on the issue of capital punishment within the Commonwealth.
For those who follow Commonwealth matters, there is an interesting development underway. The Commonwealth is considering whether to adopt a Charter of the Commonwealth. It was proposed last October by an Eminent Persons Group that included several prominent human rights personalities. The concept was endorsed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth.
Australia has already prepared a draft, which is based upon several earlier pronouncements by Commonwealth bodies.
Tomorrow I will be testifying before the Canadian Senate's Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade about the Charter of the Commonwealth.
I'm in Ottawa (where it is -13C) today to deliver a lecture at the University of Ottawa about the International Criminal Court. Thursday and Friday I'll be attending an interesting conference at McMaster University in Hamilton on the history of human rights where, it seems, we'll be debating the hypotheses of Samuel Moyn, Canadian involvement in drafting human rights instruments, the role of groups within Canadian civil society including blacks, aboriginal peoples and Jews, and other issues. I've been immersed in issues relating to the history of human rights as part of my current project, a compilation of the travaux préparatoires of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The material, which runs to more than 1.2 million words, is fully indexed and annotated. I'm now completing the introduction before sending it to the publishers, Cambridge University Press, who should produce it later this year or early next year.

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