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School of Law scholar writes American textbook on human rights from an international perspective

Loyola press release - July 19, 2005

Jeanne Woods, the Henry F. Bonura, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, has coauthored Human Rights and the Global Marketplace: Economic, Social, and Cultural Dimensions. Woods says the book may be the only American textbook that covers poverty, economic and social issues from a human rights international perspective.

The 930-page book is coauthored with Hope Lewis, professor of International Law at Northeastern University School of Law. It was released April 1 by Transnational Publishers.

Woods will use the book in the fall when she teaches law and poverty at Loyola. Lewis will use the book at Northeastern and professors at other law schools including St. Louis, Temple, and Tulane have said they intend to use the book.

In 1998 Woods began compiling course material to teach the law and poverty class. She discovered that very few people were dealing with poverty from a human rights perspective. She recalled there were no books on social or economic rights. Its a subject covered in Europe, but there was no textbook suitable for an American classroom. Woods researched and developed so many cases that she realized she had almost enough material for a book.

I wanted to look at the impact of globalization on third world countries and people of color, she said. Woods turned to Lewis because of her extensive background in womens rights, another vital issue explored in the book.

Woods outlines several reasons why the book is unique:

* Its a casebook which includes all major cases in the world on this issue, collecting jurisprudence on international human rights issues. Cases are printed in the book, not just referred to;

* Approaches human rights from the perspective of globalization. How human rights are defined, or redefine human rights as rights that humans need fundamentally. How do these rights interact with those rights we think are the most important rights?

* Emphasis on issues that affect people of color, indigenous people or Native Americans in Australia or United States. Political rights of self-determination. There are two basic categories of human rights: (1) Political/civil rights, i.e. due process, non-discrimination, and right to a fair trial and (2) Rights to economic benefits. The book illustrates that the separation of these two things are artificial.

In the course of putting this book together, we really see how they are interrelated, Wood said. It blurs those artificial lines. These are all human rights.