Evatt Foundation + Sydney Ideas present

From Good International Citizen to Pariah?

The decline of human rights protection in Australia

9 Dec 2018

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights — the first declaration of universal human rights to be made by nations in concert — turns 70 on Monday 10 December 2018.


Australia was a leader in the development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and an Australian presided over its proclamation by the United Nations: Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, President of the General Assembly —the highest position reached by an Australian in international affairs.


What happened? The world has changed a great deal in 70 years, and Australia is no longer an international leader in upholding human rights, at home or abroad. The nation’s reputation as a good international citizen is contested. Can Australia be cast as an international pariah?


On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration, Gillian Triggs will address the issues in this public lecture, introduced by Elizabeth Evatt with a vote of thanks by Tanya Plibersek.


Introduction: Hon. Elizabeth Evatt AC, is an eminent Australian lawyer, jurist and reformer whose extraordinary career has included serving as a member and later chair of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (1984-1992) and as the first Australian to be elected to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1992-2000).


Address: Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs was the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012 to 2017. She has held many senior academic positions, including dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney (2007-12), and director of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (2005-07). She is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Chair of Justice Connect, and Chair of the Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment for the United Nations body UNAIDS.


Vote of Thanks: Hon. Tanya Plibersek, MP, has been the Member for Sydney in the House of Representatives since 1998. She served as a cabinet minister in the Rudd-Gillard Government (2007-2013) and is currently Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, and Shadow Minister for Education and Training and Shadow Minister for Women.


This is one of a suite of events that celebrate and critically reflect on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2018. It follows Eleanor and Mary Alice, which runs in the Sound Lounge of the Seymour Centre from 5 December to 8 December, and is followed in turn by a public forum on ‘The Next 70 Years at the University of Sydney on 10 December.


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