Leading human rights advocate appointed Executive Director of Human Rights Law Centre

Leading human rights advocate and lawyer, Hugh de Kretser, has been appointed to head the Human Rights Law Centre. Mr de Kretser, who is currently the Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, will take up the appointment in February 2013.

“We are delighted that Hugh has accepted our offer to lead the Human Rights Law Centre through its next stage of development,” said Ros Grady, Chairperson of the HRLC.

“Hugh was selected from a highly competitive field of international candidates based on his outstanding track record in human rights advocacy, law reform and organisational development. His vision for the HRLC will expand the reach and impact of our work, achieving justice for individuals, strengthened government accountability and systemic human rights reform,” said Ms Grady.

Accepting the appointment, Mr de Kretser said that “I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role and building on the great work of the HRLC promoting and protecting human rights across Australia.

“I look forward to working to advance the human rights of all Australians, particularly in the HRLC’s priority areas of Indigenous rights, violence against women, detainee rights and police accountability.” said Mr de Kretser.

Mr de Kretser has been Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres since 2007, prior to which he worked as a Manager of Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre (2004 to 2007) and an employment lawyer with Mallesons (1999 to 2004). He served as a Board member of the Human Rights Law Centre from 2005 until 2007 and has also held statutory appointments as a Director of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council and a Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Mr de Kretser replaces the outgoing Executive Director, Phil Lynch, who has accepted a position as Director of the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva after seven years leading the HRLC.

Welcoming Mr de Kretser’s appointment, Mr Lynch said “Hugh comes to the HRLC with a well deserved reputation as one of Australia’s leading human rights advocates and over a decade’s experience working to improve access to justice and uphold the rule of law.”

“Working alongside a highly engaged Board, supported by an exceptional staff team, and sustained by an expanding donor and supporter base, I look forward to watching Hugh catapult the HRLC to a new level of human rights impact,” Mr Lynch said.