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November 2015

Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Dr Yirga Woldeyes, speaker at the African Studies of Australasia and the Pacific Conference

Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes, a lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights Education, participated in the 38th African Studies of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) Conference that was organised at Deakin University, Melbourne, from 28th-30th October 2015. The theme of the conference was ‘21st Century Tensions and Transformation in Africa’. Yirga participated by presenting a paper entitled, Beyond decoloniality: Towards the creative incorporation of diverse knowledge-traditions in Africa. He also chaired a session, and spoke at the plenary session at the conclusion of the conference on the Future of African studies in Australasia. The next AFSAAP conference will take place in Perth in 2016.

For more information about the conference program, click here.

Post date: 16 November 2015

Australian Research Council Discovery award success for Centre adjunct

Congratulations to Centre for Human Rights Education’s Adjunct Researcher, Dr Karen Soldatic, on her successful ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award announced on Friday 30 October 2015, awarded through the University of New South Wales.

Karen is an international researcher in the field of disability studies and her research work has been published widely in some of the world’s leading international social science journals in the area. She has successfully edited a number of leading international journals and has three forthcoming international edited volumes with Routledge (2014) and Springer (2015). Her research work builds upon her extensive policy experience working inside government on national disability policy priorities, undertaking major state programmatic reforms involving research, public consultation and program implementation (2002 – 2010). She co-founded The Australian Sociological Association’s (TASA) – Critical Disability Studies Thematic Group (2008) and in 2012, was elected as the National Post Graduate Representative of TASA for a two year term (2013-2014). Thus, she is internationally renowned for her to commitment to capacity building strategies that support long term sustainable institutional change for greater impact. (Source:

Her awarded project intends to examine how four regional centres navigate the socio-economic challenges of an increasing Indigenous disability population in a context of national reform. Across OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, including Australia, disability income support policy has become central to national economic policy. Australian regional centres are experiencing growth in their Indigenous disability populations at a time of significant policy change. We do not know how regional communities respond to these policy changes, nor do we understand how national disability income support policy affects the socio-economic wellbeing of Indigenous persons with disability. This project aims to address this knowledge gap and potentially inform regional and national disability policy for Indigenous Australians. (Source:

Post date: 4 November 2015

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September 2015

Attendees at the workshop

CHRE co-convenes workshop on the regional impacts of Australia’s asylum seeker policies

Centre for Human Rights Education’s (CHRE) Dr Caroline Fleay and Dr Lisa Hartley co-convened a workshop in Melbourne on the 31st of August and 1st of September 2015, on the regional impacts of Australia’s asylum seeker policies with ANU’s Professor William Maley and with the support of Swinburne University’s (and CHRE Adjunct) Professor Linda Briskman. The workshop was attended by academics and representatives of refugee support agencies, refugee communities and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

The purpose of the workshop was to document and explore the impacts of Australian policies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, particularly on asylum seekers and refugees, since the commencement of the Abbott Government’s Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB). Since 2013, OSB has introduced measures aimed at intercepting and deterring the arrival of asylum seekers via maritime routes. This has led to Australian operations with Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to disrupt people smuggling activities and increase intelligence operation.  It also includes the turning back by Australian naval personnel of asylum seekers, mostly to Indonesia, and the prevention of the arrival of other boats with the assistance of authorities in Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Throughout the two days, research papers and reports were presented by delegates that outlined a range of disturbing impacts that Australian policies are having in the region since the commencement of OSB.

One of the outcomes of the workshop will be a public report that provides an overview of these findings – this will be made available next month so watch this space.

April 2015

Breaking the Logjam: LGBTI Human Rights in Australia and Asia, The Pacific and Indian Ocean with the Honourble Michael Kirby

On 27 March 2015, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Living Proud LGBTI Community Services of WA and Q Life hosted a public forum with The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG titled, ‘Breaking the Logjam: LGBTI Human Rights in Australia and Asia, The Pacific and Indian Ocean’. The night was well attended with a full house at Curtin University.

After an introduction to the evening by Professor Baden Offord, Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education, a Welcome to Country was conducted by adjunct Professor Len Collard from the University of Western Australia. Curtin Vice Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, then introduced the Honourable Michael Kirby who described the origins of legal oppression of LGBTI people in Australia and our region.

The floor was then opened for questions from the audience. If you would like to watch the presentation, please click here. Please note that the presentation begins 9 minutes into the recording.

(Photos by Anna Winther)

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