The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference
We acknowledge and pay respects to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which our Monash University Australian campuses stand.
Information for Indigenous Australians.
The Conference may be credited towards CPD requirements. See the Law Institute of Victoria's Legal Compliance website for further information.
Leading researchers, practitioners and advocates joined us to discuss reproductive rights, the prevention of torture, the federal human rights framework, and climate activism. View the hashtag #HumanRights23 to read some of the @CastanCentre audience engagement that took place on Twitter.
KEYNOTE: OUTWARD-INWARD MISALIGNMENT? AUSTRALIA’S PLACE AND PERFORMANCE IN THE GLOBAL STRUGGLE AGAINST TORTURE
The prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is widely recognised, yet regularly infringed upon. In her first six months in office as United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Dr Alice Edwards has been inundated with allegations of torture and other ill-treatment from victim-survivors.
Australia promotes itself as a champion of the international human rights system, yet the country has recently attracted negative attention following the cancellation of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture’s official visit in October last year because of issues obtaining access to places of detention, only the third time such action has been taken in the Subcommittee’s history. Should this prompt a reckoning in Australia as to the misalignment between its outward posture on human rights and its internal practices?
KEYNOTE: A NEW NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK FOR AUSTRALIA
The Australian Human Rights Commission is reaching the conclusion of its’ Free and Equal project, identifying what the national system for protecting human rights should be in Australia. In this keynote, President Croucher will outline the Commission’s vision of a new national human rights framework, as well as the centrepiece of this framework – a national Human Rights Act for Australia.
PANEL: REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND HEALTH
In 2022 the United States Supreme Court overturned the decision of Roe v Wade, removing constitutional protection for the right to abortion. This decision has had an enormous impact on abortion access in the United States, and in Australia it prompted people to think about the extent to which reproductive rights are protected and the accessibility of reproductive health care. This panel will discuss the historical, legal and practical issues surrounding abortion access in the United States and Australia.
PANEL: A HUMAN RIGHTS ACT FOR AUSTRALIA
In March 2023, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Position Paper 'A Human Rights Act for Australia' identified problems with the existing protection of human rights at the federal level, and supported the enactment of comprehensive human rights legislation that protects civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The speakers in this session will explore the Commission’s key proposals, and where relevant situate these proposals within the context of the pre-existing human rights legislation in the sub-national jurisdictions.
PANEL: CLIMATE AND PROTEST
This panel will discuss and analyse the newly-introduced laws in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, and the role of law in limiting protest in Australia. We will hear from a committed activist about how protest is being restricted in relation to climate activism.
WELCOME AND OPENING OF THE CONFERENCE
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