The Hon Michael Kirby on the future of HIV/AIDS and the Commonwealth

19 August 2010

The Hon Michael Kirby will deliver a lecture at the University of Sydney tomorrow.
The Hon Michael Kirby will deliver a lecture at the University of Sydney tomorrow.

University of Sydney alumnus and former High Court Justice the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG will deliver a lecture tomorrow (Friday 20 August) on the future of the Commonwealth and the HIV/AIDS epidemic as part of a special lecture series on human rights and democratisation.

Michael Kirby has long been engaged in the field of international law. In 2010 he has been appointed to two new international bodies, whose focus he will explain in his address.

First, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations in London (Khamalesh Sharma) has appointed him to an Eminent Persons Group on the future organisation of the Commonwealth of Nations, its Secretariat and mechanisms.

Secondly, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme in New York (Helen Clark) has appointed him to the new Global Commission on HIV and the Law. This body will address legal obstacles to the effective tackling of the epidemic, including intellectual property law that substantially increases the costs of urgent anti-retroviral therapies, and criminal laws that target vulnerable groups such as men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers.

Michael Kirby has served in many international bodies including in OECD, the Commonwealth Secretariat, WHO, ILO, UNESCO, UNDP, UNODC and UNAIDS. He was President of the International Commission of Jurists (1995-8) and UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6). In June 2010 he was named co-winner of the prestigious Gruber Justice Prize.

The Human Rights and Democratisation Special Lecture Series is hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Sydney Ideas. It is an initiative of the new Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation, the Masters of Human Rights, the Graduate Diploma in Human Rights and the Graduate Certificate in Human Rights.

The new Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation is a degree introduced this semester which uniquely offers students the opportunity to study both at this University and one of four selected Asia-Pacific universities with particular expertise in human rights and democratisation. Complemented by funding from the European Commission the one year course offers students the unique opportunity to engage first-hand with regional and international human rights issues, and provides them with exposure to leading international human rights academics and practitioners.

The Human Rights and Democratisation Special Lecture Series will also feature keynote speeches by other internationally renowned human rights experts, such as Adjunct Professor Chris Sidoti and Professor Brian Burdekin, who will examine the opportunities for, and challenges of promoting human rights at the regional level in the Asia Pacific.

The lectures are open to students, staff, professionals and members of the general public.

Event details:

What:New Global Engagements - The Future of the Commonwealth and Future of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, delivered by the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG. This is a 45-minute lecture followed by 30-minute Q & A.

When: 3.30pm, Friday 20 August

Where: Lecture Theatre 101, New Law Building, Camperdown Campus

Cost: This is a free series and all are welcome. No RSVP or registration needed.

Media enquiries: Sarah Stock, 9114 0748, 0419 278 715,