The Network for Law and Human Rights hosts a range of events throughout the year.


2021 Human Rights Day Address: Human Rights in Western Sydney

Date: 10 December 2021 Time: 11:00 AM– 12:00 PM AEDT
Speaker: Mr Jihad Dib

Mr Jihad Dib is the member for Lakemba in the NSW Legislative Assembly. He is Shadow Minister for Emergency Services and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change.  Prior to joining parliament, Mr Dib was the Principal of Punchbowl Boys' High School in Sydney's South West. His philosophy of having his students actively engage with the wider community led to significant reduction in absenteeism, increased morale, surging enrolments and much-improved academic results in the school community.

In this Human Rights Address Mr Dib will speak about the needs of people in Western Sydney and how we can best ensure the protection of human rights in the area.

Azadeh DastyariAzadeh DastyariCatherine-RenshawCatherine RenshawJennifer_WhelanJennifer Whelan

The WSU Network for Law and Human Rights: research for human rights impact

Date: Thu, 28 October 2021 Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM AEDT

On the 10th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, Chair of the Commission of the United Nations, gave a speech called ‘Where Do Human Rights Begin’? She captured why human rights are relevant in our daily lives:

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.

This presentation, by Az Dastyari, Catherine Renshaw and Jenni Whelan from the School of Law, examines the principles that are needed to guide human rights research ‘in small places’. They argue that research must be (i) designed to advance the realisation of human rights (ii) adopt methods and approaches that are themselves human rights-based (iii) contribute to capacity development of duty-bearers or rights holders. In a tryptic of research vignettes, the presenters illuminate the challenges and potential benefits of research that is grounded in attentiveness to small places: and to the complex histories and cultures that shape them.


Date: Monday, 30 August Time: 7.00 pm

In August 2001, the MV Tampa, a Norwegian container ship, rescued 433 asylum seekers and refugees from a distressed Indonesian fishing boat. The Tampa attempted to disembark its vulnerable passengers in the closest country, Australia, but was denied permission to enter Australian waters. The ‘Tampa incident’ became the catalyst for strengthened border security measures including boat turnbacks and the offshore transfer of refugees and asylum seekers attempting to enter Australia to Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Twenty years after the ‘Tampa incident’, boat turnbacks and laws mandating extraterritorial processing and detention of asylum seekers and refugees continues. Marking the 20th anniversary of the Tampa incident, this event will discuss what happened then and what continues to happen today.

Abbas Nazari 

Abbas Nazari, Fulbright scholar and author rescued by the Tampa as a young  asylum seeker in 2001.

Julian Burnside 

Julian Burnside AO QC, Australian barrister, author, human rights and refugee advocate, Senior Counsel for Liberty Victoria  in the Tampa litigation.

Behrouz Boochani 

Behrouz Boochani, journalist, human rights defender, writer, film producer, former detainee on Manus Island detention centre

David Marr 

David Marr, Award winning journalist, author and commentator.

David Dungay Jr and Black Deaths in Custody

David Dungay Jr, a 26-year-old Dunghutti man from Kempsey died in Sydney’s Long Bay jail on 29 December 2015 after five prison guards held him face down and had him injected with a sedative during a cell transfer. The cell transfer was undertaken after Dungay, who was also a diabetic, refused to stop eating a packet of biscuits. Footage of the incident shown to a court revealed that before losing consciousness, David could be heard repeating multiple times that he couldn’t breathe. However these calls went unanswered by the prison staff who restrained him.


Elizabeth Jarrett

Elizabeth Jarrett is a Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Dunghutti poet, educator and activist who plays a central role in protest movements for First Nations justice, including the recent Black Lives Matter protests on Gadigal land (Sydney). Lizzie advocates every day for First Nations families facing oppression and violence.

Paul Silva

Paul Silva is a proud Dunghutti man from Kempsey NSW and the nephew of David Dungay Jnr.  He has fought tirelessly for the establishment of an independent body to investigate deaths in custody, and for those responsible for the death of Mr Dungay to be held accountable.

George Newhouse

George Newhouse is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Macquarie University and the Principal Solicitor of the National Justice Project a not-for profit law firm he co-founded in 2016. More information about the Justice Project can be found at: George's life’s work centres on fighting institutional racism and giving voice and legal support to the most vulnerable. George acts for the Dungay family.

Event Details:

Time and Date: 12pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021

Venue: WSU Parramatta South Campus, Moot Court, Building EO, Room G.44

Dr Scott Avery 

GAZA 2021: Truth, Proportionality and Crimes under International Law

Speakers: Professor Ben Saul and Professor Catherine Renshaw

Date: 21 May 2021 Time: 2.00 pm

This Seminar explored the doctrine of proportionality under international humanitarian law and its application in the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The seminar discussed the scope of the humanitarian disaster and the responsibility of the international community to address the human suffering in Gaza. Finally, the seminar considered the prospects for accountability in the International Criminal Court.

In May 2021, conflict between Israel and Palestine erupted into cross-border rocket-fire by Palestinian militants and Israeli airstrikes targeting the Gaza Strip. To date, the conflict has killed more than 200 Palestinians, among them 63 children. More than 50,000 Palestinians have been displaced. In Israel, the conflict has killed 12 people, Including one child. Both sides claim that their actions are a proportionate response to the threat from the other side. The UN Security Council has failed to issue a statement on the violence.

Dr Scott Avery 

Indigenous Disability

Speaker: Dr Scott Avery

Date: 17 February 2021 Time: 1pm RSVP:

Dr Scott Avery is an Indigenous disability researcher and advocate on health and social inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. He has undertaken extensive community-based research whilst with the First Peoples Disability Network, a non-government organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their families, and in 2018 authored the publication 'Culture is Inclusion: A narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability' (2018) based on his research.

Robyn Oxley 

Network for Law and Human Rights Human Rights Day Speakers Series

Black Lives Matter in Australia Speaker: Robyn Oxley

Date: Thursday, 10 December 2020 Time: 11:00am RSVP:

Robyn Oxley is a Tharawal woman from SouthWest Sydney with family connections to Yorta Yorta from Echuca and Shepparton. Robyn is an activist and academic in the space of the criminal justice system and Aboriginal rights to self-determination. Her work is primarily focused on human rights, social justice and improving the outcomes of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.
Robyn is based at Western Sydney University as a lecturer in Criminology. In 2018 she began her Masters by Research in Criminology, examining the difference between inclusion and self-determination of pre- and post-release support programs for Aboriginal people in Victoria. This has developed further to look at how New South Wales provides the Aboriginal community with the necessary tools, support and space to practice self-determination. Robyn’s research interests include Aboriginal affairs within the criminal justice system, self determination, Aboriginal women's imprisonment and family violence prevention, prisons, and Victorian corrections.

Launch of the Western Sydney University Network for Law and Human Rights

Researching for Change: Empowering Affected Communities through High Impact Research

Date: 17 February 2021 
Time: 12.30 pm - 3.00 pm
Venue: Sahra By The River Restaurant, 2/76 Phillip St, Parramatta

Samah Shda

Samah Shda is an Iraqi Assyrian refugee who arrived in Australia in 2019. Samah grew up in Baghdad and experienced the aftermath of the 2003 war and was part of the refugee aid efforts during the 2014 refugee crisis caused by the Islamic State invasion in northern Iraq. Samah has been directly involved with refugee resettlement organisations and refugee-led national advocacy networks representing the Iraqi community. Samha is currently leading a research project focused on refugee access to higher education in Australia in collaboration with multiple refugee advocacy and resettlement organizations. Samah is using her own experience and story to raise awareness on the global refugee crisis.

Rick Welsh

Rick Welsh is a Gomeroi/Murrawarri man from north western NSW and has spent a lot of his life living on the traditional land of the Eora Nation. Rick is the manager of The Shed, a Western Sydney community based project that implements early intervention across legal sectors: family law, crime, child care and protection and housing. Rick builds stakeholder partnerships to facilitate holistic therapeutic interventions that minimise negative outcomes and generate systematic changes to achieve trauma informed responses for clients. Rick was the recipient of the 2017 Aboriginal Justice Award from the NSW Law Foundation.

External Events Involving Network Members:


Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL): “year in review” conference

Date: 26 February 2021

Time: 8.45am - 5pm

Location: Free online event. Register via eventbrite.

SCIL’s annual ‘year in review’ conference explores the developments in international law over the preceding year, especially those most salient for Australia.

Join us for presentations on:

  • “International law and the case of Julian Assange”, by Jennifer Robinson (Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers; Counsel for Assange)
  • “Alleged war crimes by Australian armed forces”, by Professor Tim McCormack (University of Tasmania; Special Advisor to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor on International Humanitarian Law)
  • “Accountability for Myanmar’s alleged crimes against Rohingya people”, by Professor Catherine Renshaw (Western Sydney University).

Full program and further details available on the official event page.