Welcome to the 100th edition of Rights Agenda – the monthly bulletin of the Human Rights Law Centre!
Rights Agenda is the HRLC’s flagship contribution to human rights education. First launched in 2006, one of its key aims was to improve capacity and expertise in using international human rights law in domestic legal practice and advocacy.
Over time we have delivered on that aim, from our first six-page edition to editions like this one topping 50 pages of human rights news, opinion and resources, as well as updates on our work and impact.
We’ve had opinion pieces written exclusively for Rights Agenda by Attorneys-General, High Court judges, politicians, leading barristers, UN experts, academics, leading human rights advocates and many others.
Thanks to the strong pro bono support from some of Australia’s leading law firms and lawyers, we’ve built up a database with over 700 case-notes on local and international human rights law judgments. It’s a great resource – it’s publically available and it’s free. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.
We regularly receive positive feedback about Rights Agenda from our 4,000 or so direct subscribers around the world which include UN Human Rights Committee members, judges, lawyers, community workers, politicians, public servants and members of the public interested in human rights. The bulletin reaches more people via social media and our website, and Rights Agenda articles and case-notes are distributed around national and international networks with our blessing.
Our ability to consistently produce high-quality human rights material for Rights Agenda relies on our pro bono support, sponsorship, grants from organisations like the Victoria Legal Services Board and on volunteers. In this regard, there’s one particular volunteer to recognise – Miranda Webster who has been helping out with its production since April 2012.
I'd also like to thank all the businesses that sponsor the bulletin.
With only six percent of our funding this year from government, the Human Rights Law Centre relies heavily on donations from people like you who are passionate about promoting and protecting human rights.
It’s fitting that this 100th edition of Rights Agenda is jam-packed with examples of the impact the Human Rights Law Centre has on the Australian human rights landscape. Just looking at last week:
On Monday, our Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, was assembling a broad coalition of over 40 organisations to urge Attorney-General George Brandis to allow for further scrutiny of his new counter-terror measures.
On Tuesday, our Director of Legal Advocacy Daniel Webb and I, were in the High Court with Shine Lawyers and a team of barristers led by Ron Merkel QC, bringing vital legal scrutiny to the month-long high seas detention of 157 people, who the Australian Government tried and failed to send to India.
On Wednesday, our Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation Anna Brown, was in the Victorian Parliament having secured the passage of historic laws that for the first time allow gay men to apply to erase unjust criminal convictions left-over from when homosexual sex was illegal.
On Thursday, our Director of Advocacy and Campaigns Rachel Ball, submitted to the UN’s Committee Against Torture a detailed report she coordinated with 77 other organisations warning of Australia’s declining standards when it comes to the prevention of torture and cruel treatment.
On Friday… we had to get started on this bulletin! So here it is. We hope you enjoy it, find the resources useful, share it amongst friends and colleagues and continue to support the work of the Human Rights Law Centre. Any feedback you have would be most welcome.
Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director
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