Hilary Charlesworth on Bills of Rights

Oct 7, 2009

What does a country gain by enacting a bill of rights? Do countries that lack bills of rights, like Australia, protect human rights as well as those, like the United States and Canada, that have them?

The widespread agreement on the importance of human rights in liberal democracies masks sharp differences between governments' methods of protecting these rights. What does a country gain by enacting a bill of rights? Do countries that lack bills of rights, like Australia, protect human rights as well as those, like the United States and Canada, that have them? Does it make a difference if such rights are written into a foundational government document, as they in the United States, or if they are at least ostensibily on par with all other legislation, as they are in the United Kingdom?

In this episode of Public Ethics Radio, human-rights lawyer Hilary Charlesworth leads us through the challenging questions posed by the institutionalization of human rights.

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