Have You Got That Right?

Today we are proud to launch an innovative series of videos called Have You Got That Right?

As the tag-line says, these videos will answer important human rights questions “quickly, clearly and in a way that won’t put you to sleep”. The project will be broken into a number of 10-episode series, each with a different theme. Series one blends comedy with serious academic content.

Today’s videos are “What are human rights?” and “Is there a human right to marriage equality?” After today, a new video will be released every fortnight.

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How did this project come about?

About two years ago, we came up with a plan to make simple films of our academics answering topical human rights questions, maybe on a green screen if we could find the funding. We were incredibly fortunate to convince the Victoria Law Foundation, the Paul Newman’s Own Foundation, the Monash Vice-Chancellor and the Nordia Foundation to come on board. Then we started chatting to various creative types and, before we knew it, we had received offers of help from industry veterans, film students and actors to name a few. Inevitably, all of these amazing people helped us to create a more sophisticated product.

From the beginning, we wanted to make something very different to the usual academic content. The videos had to be creative. They had to grab people’s attention, but they also had to inform people simply and quickly. We believe that we have succeeded in creating something unexpected for a university-based research centre. We hope we’ve also created something fun and enjoyable, yet educational.

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What’s the aim of the project?

The aim of Have You Got That Right? is to empower the general public to better understand the meaning of human rights.

Research in Australia and elsewhere has showed that human rights laws have a transformative impact on vulnerable groups such as the homeless, people with a disability and children to name a few. However, research also shows that many people do not fully understand their rights. That’s where these videos come in.

Instead of simply trying to explain each human right, this series puts rights in context by referring to topical issues and debates. So, instead of asking “what is the right to non-discrimination?” we are asking “is there a right to marriage equality?” Instead of asking “What is the right to privacy?”, we are asking “do I have a right to be free from government surveillance?”, and so on.

This more engaging approach draws on our experience of “applied learning”: by putting information in context, we make it easier to understand and use. We aim to make it possible for anyone who watches these videos to join in a conversation on discrimination or privacy or asylum or prisoners’ rights, to name a few.

More than just the videos

We hope that many people will get to the end of the videos and want to know more, so we’ve created a website with extra resources. There are links to great content for high school students as well as links to academic articles, case law and international treaties. Gradually we will build a library of human rights videos and resources that will be freely available for years to come for people with differing levels of knowledge about human rights law.

So, click the link and ask yourself: Have You Got That Right?

Professor Sarah Joseph is the Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. She has taught human rights law in Australia, the Netherlands, the US and New Zealand, and has conducted training programs in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma. Her research interests include the intersections between human rights issues and terrorism laws, regulation of the global economy, pop culture, and the media (including social media). You can find her on Twitter at @profsarahj

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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.

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