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About Castan Centre

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law seeks to promote and protect human rights through the generation and dissemination of public scholarship in international and domestic human rights law. In pursuit of this mission, the Centre brings the work of human rights scholars, practitioners and advocates from a wide range of disciplines together in the Centre’s key activities of research, teaching, public education (lectures, seminars, conferences, speeches, media presentations, etc), applied research, advice work and consultancies.

Open letter to the Attorney-General regarding the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

September 16, 2014

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The following is an open letter to the Commonwealth Attorney-General, The Hon. George Brandis QC, signed by 64 organisations including the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. The letter is dated 15 September 2014. Dear Attorney, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  We, the undersigned […]

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The High Court’s Sri Lanka asylum seeker case: the legal issues

July 9, 2014

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By Patrick Emerton Yesterday’s High Court case concerning the fate of Tamil asylum seekers detained at sea by Australian authorities has been adjourned until Friday. The case raises a range of legal questions. These go to the legality of the Australian Government’s policy towards, and treatment of, asylum seekers. They also go to broader questions […]

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Child workers in Vietnam face further exploitation

June 27, 2014

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Vietnamese children as young as 11 are working for up to 18 hours a day in harsh and abusive conditions, often unpaid and denied communication with their families, a study shows. The study, led by Professor Susan Kneebone of Monash University’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in collaboration with the children’s foundation Blue Dragon, looks at the causes and […]

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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: Indigenous rights – hastening too slowly

May 13, 2014

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By Melissa Castan and Stephen Gray In 2013 the then opposition leader, Tony Abbott, announced that if elected he would be the ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs’, raising hopes that law reform and better human rights protection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would be central to the government’s agenda. To some extent, they […]

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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: Gender-based violence – beyond the first 20 years

May 12, 2014

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By Heli Askola Despite many advances in preventing gender-based violence, one in three Australian women over the age of 15 has experienced physical or sexual violence and roughly one woman a week is killed by their partner or ex-partner. As some commentators have pointed out, these figures dwarf the incidence of ‘one-punch assaults’ or shark […]

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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: Human rights in “closed” environments

May 8, 2014

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By Julie Debeljak, Bronwyn Naylor and Anita Mackay Protecting the human rights of people in “closed environments” is crucial because the people detained in these facilities are removed from public scrutiny.  Their relative powerlessness creates a serious risk of human rights abuse by staff members and fellow detainees. Closed environments are places where people are […]

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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: Australia’s growing prisons crisis

May 7, 2014

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By Bronwyn Naylor Governments around the world have invested in prisons as places for the punishment of offenders. They are expensive, harmful and overused. In Australia, prisons are becoming increasingly overcrowded, and their populations demonstrate striking levels of vulnerability and disadvantage. There were 29,383 prisoners (sentenced and unsentenced) in Australian prisons at 30 June 2012, […]

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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: ASIO’s human rights problem

May 1, 2014

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By Patrick Emerton Last year, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s annual report referred to ‘terrorism’ more than 60 times while the phrase ‘human rights’ appeared once. This discrepancy reflects ASIO’s willingness to prioritise its search for terrorists even when it may come at considerable expense to human rights. The report, tabled in parliament last October […]

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Why Tim Wilson is wrong about “n______”

April 10, 2014

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By Patrick Emerton A little over a week ago, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson stated that he objects to current laws governing racially offensive behaviour because they allow members of particular communities to refer to one another using words that outsiders may not: Asked whether he was referring to the word “n–––“, Mr Wilson said: “I […]

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An open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott

March 5, 2014

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On 2 March, over 500 academics from more than 30 Australian universities (including Castan Centre Directors and Associates) signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the immediate closure of the detention centres on Manus Island and in Nauru. Academics can still add their names at this link.  We have reprinted the full text of the […]

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