Public Lecture by Professor Gillian Triggs

Asylum seeker policy has been a major political issue in Australia since the Tampa affair in 2001. Australia’s key policies regarding asylum seekers who arrive by boat, namely mandatory immigration detention and third country processing, have the support of both major political parties.

In this lecture, Professor Gillian Triggs explored the global context in terms of populations seeking protection, and the international legal principles which apply to Australia and other countries under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Professor Triggs explained Australia’s policies and how they fit within this international context, and discussed the role and work of the Australian Human Rights Commission, particularly its recent National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. The lecture concluded with some comments about the challenges and possible opportunities for asylum seeker policy in the future.

Professor Gillian Triggs
is the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, taking up her appointment in 2012. Her focus at the Commission is on the implementation in Australian law of the human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and to work with nations in the Asia Pacific region on practical approaches to human rights. Professor Triggs' long-standing commitment to legal education builds upon the Commission's efforts to inform Australians, especially children, about their fundamental human rights.

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