Human Rights 2019

The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference

Date: Friday 26 July 2019
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Venue: The Arena, NAB Docklands, 700 Bourke Street, DOCKLANDS


Zainab Mahboob
Head of Legal at the Justice Project Pakistan, A Maurice Blackburn Visiting Activist

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube Channel

Topic: Opposing the death penalty in Pakistan

You can read her presentation here.

Zainab Mahboob is the Head of Legal for Justice Project Pakistan, the country's leading human rights organization that defends the poorest prisoners facing the harshest punishments. Zainab has managed the litigation for critical death penalty cases including investigation, drafting and court appearances. She has been critical to JPP's strategic litigation that has helped set important precedents for Pakistani law including the rights of mentally ill, physically disabled prisoners and juvenile offenders. She also led the litigation that resulted in the repatriation of Pakistani prisoners from Bagram - the largest repatriation of any one nationality in the world.

Zainab completed her Law degree from the University of London and did LL.M in international Commercial Law. Zainab has been working at JPP since 2014 and conducted investigation in some of the most challenging cases. She obtained her license to practice in Pakistan in 2014 as an Advocate of the High Court of Pakistan. Since then she has been pursuing strategic litigation regarding the death row prisoners in Pakistan.

Ms. Saffaa
Artist and activist

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Topic: I Am My Own Guardian: Reflections on Art, Resistance, & Agency

Photo credit: Nicola Bailey

Ms. Saffaa is an artist and activist from Saudi Arabia. She was reported to the Saudi authorities when one of her artworks went viral in 2016 and has since become a political dissident. Her work was recently on display at the US Congress. She is shortlisted for the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression award. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Sydney.


Panel: Human Rights by Public Opinion -  Campaigning for Change via national votes

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Lee Carnie
Director of Legal Advocacy, Equality Australia, and Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre

Lee is a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre and is dedicated to removing all laws which discriminate against LGBTI people and to building movements for stronger human rights protections for all of us at both state and federal levels. Lee is also the Director of Legal Advocacy at Equality Australia,  played a pivotal role in the campaign for marriage equality and has worked on various pieces of strategic litigation and advocacy for a range of progressive law reform.

Shannan Dodson
Communications Manager, Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership and Engagement, University of Technology Sydney and Member of the National NAIDOC Committee

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman. She's worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for over 13 years and is a Communications and Digital specialist. She is the Communications Manager for the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) Office at the University of Technology Sydney. Before this she was the Social Media Manager for the successful YES Marriage Equality Campaign and Digital Director for the Recognise campaign; which brought conversations about constitutional reform and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into the mainstream.


Professor Sarah Maddison
Co-Director, Indigenous-Settler Relations Collaboration, Melbourne University

Sarah Maddison is a non-Indigenous woman, and Professor of Politics at the University of Melbourne where she is also co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration. She has held various community roles including as former chair of the boards of GetUp and The Australia Institute. The Colonial Fantasy is her ninth book. She is also author of Beyond White Guilt and Black Politics.


Rosemary Kayess
Senior Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales

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Topic: Disability and human rights in Australia

Rosemary Kayess, is the Director Engagement, Disability Innovation Institute UNSW and a human rights lawyer. Rosemary currently teaches in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales She convenes international law and human rights subjects, focusing on the equality provisions within international instruments and their translation into domestic law and policy. She is also a Senior Research Fellow with Social Policy Research Centre UNSW. Rosemary was an external expert on the Australian Government delegation to the United Nations negotiations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She is currently a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Associate Professor Kate Galloway
Bond University

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube Channel

Topic: Data is the new black - Privacy its must-have accessory

You can read her presentation here.

Kate Galloway is associate professor of law at Bond University, and the senior law and technology analyst for civil society group, Future Wise. She researches the intersection between law and technology, and is a regular speaker and commentator on the role of technology in the law, in legal practice, and in legal education with particular emphasis on the incursion of government power on the citizen.


Panel: Human rights and Australia's treatment of refugees

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Katie Robertson
Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre

Katie Robertson is the Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre and leads the Centre’s work advocating for the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.  

Katie has extensive strategic litigation and advocacy experience focusing particularly on Australia’s treatment of refugees. She has run a number of strategic litigation cases on behalf of children and newborns held in Australia’s immigration detention centres, including those detained on Nauru and Manus Island. She has also run litigation focused specifically on the inadequate medical care men, women and children have received in Australia’s immigration detention network.

Katie also has experience advocating for the rights of refugees in the community, humanitarian and political sectors.

Over the past decade she has also represented clients from diverse backgrounds including victims of war crimes, Aboriginal clients living in remote communities and victims of corporate misconduct and asbestos disease.

Katie’s international experience includes working at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia as part of a legal team representing victims of the Khmer Rouge regime.


Shukufa Tahiri
Refugee Council of Australia

Shukufa Tahiri is a Policy Officer with the Refugee Council of Australia. Her work involves policy analysis, research and advocacy on issues affecting people seeking asylum and refugees. She is the secretariat for Refugee Communities Advocacy Network, a refugee led organisation that aims to embed grassroot refugee voices in policy decision-making and public discourse. She is also one of the executive directors of Akademos Society that helps fund the education of girls, youth and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Amnesty International Australia recognised her as one of the 15 women championing human rights in Australia in 2017. The Australian Financial Review also recently named her as one of 2018’s 100 women of influence in Australia.


David Mejia-Canales
Senior Policy Adviser, Federation of Community Legal Centres

David Mejia-Canales is a community lawyer who works to turn our system of laws into a system of justice, particularly for those most impacted by injustice. David was the main author of 'Something for them: Meeting the support needs of LGBT young people who are recently arrived, refugees or asylum seekers'. The report focused on understanding and addressing the experiences and needs of queer young refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.


Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM
President, Australian Human Rights Commission

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Topic: Free and equal: A national reform agenda for human rights in Australia for the next decade

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM was appointed as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission in July 2017, after seven and a half years as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission. In 2014, she was acknowledged for her contributions to public policy as one of Australia’s ‘100 Women of Influence’ and was awarded the Australian Women Lawyer’s award. In the Australia Day Honours list, 2015, Professor Croucher was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2016 Macquarie University conferred on her the title of Emeritus Professor.


Professor Sarah Joseph
Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube Channel

Topic: Australia's human rights exceptionalism

Professor Sarah Joseph is the Director for the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. Her teaching and research interests are international human rights law and constitutional law. Particular areas of interest include economic globalisation and human rights, sport and human rights, and the media and human rights.

She has published a number of books including Blame it on the WTO: A Human Rights Critique (OUP, 2011), Corporations and Transnational Human Rights Litigation (Hart 2004), co-authoring The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Cases, Commentary and Materials (OUP, 3rd ed, 2013), Federal Constitutional Law: A Contemporary View (Thompson, 5th ed, 2019), A Handbook on the Individual Complaints Procedures of the UN (OMCT, 2006) and Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide (UN, 2017, 2nd ed).


If you have any queries about the conference please tel 03 9905 3327 or email


For a copy of our sponsorship brochure, contact the Castan Centre (see above) or to discuss sponsorship
options contact Janice Hugo, Centre Administrator on 03 9905 3327 or email

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