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May 2023

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CHRE Statement in support of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament

All of us at CHRE would like to pay our respects to the First Nations peoples across Australia. We are here on Whadjuk Noongar boodja and we pay our deep respects to their Elders past and present, and acknowledge that this land was never ceded.

We remember so well what an extraordinary moment it was in Australia’s history when so many of this country’s First Nations peoples gifted the Uluru Statement from the Heart to us all. We consider this to be a profoundly important document and a moment of reckoning in our country’s history. The Uluru Statement from the Heart provides us with a guide to how we may all move forward together to create a better future.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart clearly maps out the need for Voice, Treaty and Truth. This includes the need for a First Nations Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and truth-telling.

We support the proposed changes to the Constitution that will enshrine the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament within this fundamental law. We also very much appreciate and respect that there are a range of different views regarding the Voice to Parliament, and how important it is to listen deeply and learn from First Nations peoples about their perspectives on the Voice.

As a human rights teaching, research and advocacy centre, we also consider that it is imperative to learn about Australia’s short history as a nation and why a referendum is being called at this moment in time. Like many others, we see that it is of the utmost importance to develop a deep understanding of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

We acknowledge too the personal impacts on First Nations peoples as this national conversation progresses, and how utterly important it is that we all engage in respectful dialogue.

As much continues to be discussed about the referendum in many public and private forums, we remember that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament is a modest proposal.  But we consider that it also holds the potential for profound change in policy making, and for all of us in Australia to move forward together.

Yirga Woldeyes speaking at Africa Day event 2023

Centre for Human Rights Education Africa Day Event 2023

The Centre for Human Rights Education, in collaboration with the Curtin African Student Association and Curtin International Relations Society, organised a public event to commemorate Africa Day in 2023. At the event, Curtin students from African backgrounds read poems and shared their lived experiences and what Africa’s history and identity means to them. CHRE co-director Associate Professor Lisa Hartley reflected on CHRE’s 20 years of critical research and advocacy for social and epistemic justice across the world including Africa. CHRE’s Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes presented the Curtin Africa Day inaugural lecture titled: Decolonising the nation and reimagining Africa’s Indigenous futures. The event was well attended in person and online. The event is part of CHRE’s celebration of its 20th anniversary of teaching, research, and advocacy at Curtin University.

Professor John Phllimore, Dr Tun Aung Shwe with Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy presentation on Monday 22 May

Human Rights and Prospects for Peace in Myanmar

On Monday 22 May, the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy and the Centre for Human Rights Education co-hosted officials representing the National Unity Government of Myanmar for a special presentation on human rights and prospects for peace in the nation.

His Excellency Aung Myo Min, Union Minister for Human Rights, was represented by Dr Tun Aung Shwe, official representative of the Myanmar Government in Australia, after falling ill ahead of the presentation. Dr Shwe reflected on the ongoing effects of Myanmar’s 2021 military coup and shared the Minister’s vision for a pathway to peace.

Professor Linda Briskman

Celebrating 20 years of the Curtin Centre for Human Rights Education

In 2023, the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) is 20 years old. CHRE will also be hosting a series of events later in the year celebrating 20 years of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. To kickstart the celebration, CHRE has a current social media campaign showcasing the impact that CHRE has had on former/current CHRE staff and student’s lives. See below for former Dr Haruhisa Handa Chair of CHRE (2006-2011), Professor Linda Briskman’s celebratory post. Follow for updates on Facebook or Instagram.

“Twenty years on & CHRE is as relevant as when it began. It occupies a special place at the University as a retreat from neoliberalism, competition & managerialism. Through non-hierarchical & collaborative ways of working, CHRE tackles the most pressing issues facing Australia & the world. Underpinning scholarship & teaching is compassion that steers advocacy for social change. Through its national & international reputation & partnerships, CHRE upholds the highest level of human rights and ethics. I am proud to be associated with CHRE where five of the best years of my life were spent with the most remarkable academic community.”

September 2022

Addressing skills shortages and supporting economic growth in Australia: Permanent pathways for temporary protection visa applicants

New briefing paper from John van Kooy and the Centre for Human Right’s Caroline Fleay just released! Providing permanent residency and family reunion to all who have applied for a temporary protection visa in Australia will finally enable them to settle here, and help to address the skilled labour shortages in Australia.

Read the full paper here.

March 2022

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Lessons from the pandemic on fairer and more caring uni teaching and learning

On the 9th of March, Dr Lisa Hartley had an article titled, ‘Lessons from the pandemic on fairer and more caring uni teaching and learning‘, published in The Conversation with colleagues Dr Sally Baker, Dr Joel Anderson, Dr Tebeje Molla, and Dr Rachel Burke.

Based on the findings from their National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education funded research led by Dr Sally Baker, UNSW, which investigated the challenges and opportunities of Covid-19 induced remote delivery for CALD, migrant & refugee students & university staff.

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New Research Report: COVID-19 online learning landscapes and CALDMR students: Opportunities and challenges

A research project led by UNSW’s Dr Sally Baker, involving CHRE’s Dr Lisa Hartley and co-investigators from the Refugee Education Special Interest Group , has found that the rapid move to Online Learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created new educational and social vulnerability for culturally & linguistically diverse migrant &/or refugee communities (CALDMR).

CALDMR students were also found to not be equipped for online learning and virtual classrooms. Many factors negatively impacted outcomes for students, including: finances, mental health and wellbeing, living and learning environments, ability to access computers and the internet, and ability to access support services via institutions.

Research recommends universities to:

  • Provide emergency funding to create nuanced resources for CALDMR students.
  • Establish better methods of identifying and interacting with CALDMR students once they are engaged in higher education.
  • Provide targeted support through dedicated staff, engagement programs and teaching/learning resources.

Read the full report here.

February 2022

Dr Yirga Woldeyes at the Perth Writers Festival

On 27 February 2022, Dr Yirga Woldeyes spoke at the Perth Writers Festival, sharing the stage with writers Claire G. Coleman, Afeif Ismail, and Rafeif Ismail. The writers discussed the new book “Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak and Black Fiction” (Fremantle Press). Yirga’s poem “እኔ ሃገር የለኝም / I have no country” is published in the book in both Amharic and English, and Yirga read the poem in Amharic at the Festival.

Photos courtesy Yirga Woldeyes.

December 2021

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New Book – Activating Cultural and Social Change: The Pedagogies of Human Rights

The Centre for Human Rights Education is very excited to announce that “Activating Cultural and Social Change: The Pedagogies of Human Rights” was published on 24 December 2021.

Co-edited by Baden Offord, Caroline Fleay, Lisa Hartley, Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes and Dean Chan, the book includes a diverse range of educators, activists, academics, and community advocates provide theoretical and practical ways of activating our knowledge and understanding of how to build a human rights culture.

An official launch will take place in 2022.

Moving, inspiring and critical chapters written by Leticia Anderson, Misty Farquhar, Marcelle Townsend-Cross, Carol Dowling, Muzafar Ali, Greg Watson, Katie Ellis, Gerard Goggin, Karen Soldatić, Nina Burridge, Linda Briskman, Sukhmani Khorana, Sonia Tascón, Jim Ife and many others.

Purchase a hard copy or ebook from Routledge.