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The Right Time to Talk: Australia, ASEAN and Human Rights

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UNSW Law Staff Common Room

Level 2

Law Building

UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052

Australia

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The Right Time to Talk:
Australia, ASEAN and Human Rights


Debbie Stothard, Secretary-General,
International Federation
For Human Rights (FIDH)


When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invited ASEAN leaders to Sydney for a special summit earlier this year, the agenda focused on counterterrorism and trade – even as troubling human rights situations across ASEAN countries dominated the news agenda – from the killings of the poor in the war against drugs in the Philippines, to the killing and expulsions of the Rohingya in Myanmar, to crackdowns on democratic oppositions in Cambodia - and rampant corruption in Malaysia.

Although recently elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time, the Australian government was largely silent, even as some ASEAN countries such as Indonesia have become more outspoken for human rights including on the Rohingya - and China has raised criticism of human rights in Australia.

With the end of 60 years of one-party rule in Malaysia and recognition of the vital role of civil society voices in these changes and standing up for rights, how can Australia and Australians best engage in human rights in ASEAN and Asia without facing accusations of lecturing, hypocrisy or interfering in their domestic affairs?

Successive Australian governments have promoted the value of quiet diplomacy but, 70 years after Australia played a leading role in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is it time to become more vocal in defence of shared values?


Join us at UNSW Sydney when Ms Stothard talks about human rights and diplomacy in Southeast Asia, and opportunities to build a rights-respecting region.



About Our Guest:

Debbie Stothard, a Malaysian national, was a student in Sydney in the early 1990’s engaging with the Diplomacy Training Program in its early years. She went on to lead efforts to put human rights in Burma on the ASEAN agenda – to break their silence and inaction – becoming the Founder and Director of ALTSEAN-Burma.

Debbie is now a global leader on human rights – becoming the first woman from the region to be elected to leadership of the oldest established international human rights NGO the Paris based – International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

Debbie is a trainer (including on DTP courses), an activist and advocate.


For inquiries about accessibility, please email humanrights@unsw.edu.au

Date and Time

Location

UNSW Law Staff Common Room

Level 2

Law Building

UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052

Australia

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