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The Application of Human Rights Principles in Public Health Emergencies
COVID-19 is the first pandemic to profoundly affect the lives of all Australians in more than a century: those who have contracted it, their loved ones, those who must treat it, and all affected by the measures designed to stop its spread. In addressing COVID-19, governments must consider the human rights of individuals affected by their response to the virus. This project aims to improve how human rights principles are applied in public health emergencies
Children’s Rights in the time of Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the human rights of children in Australia. However, the consequences of federal and state government responses to limit the spread of the virus have particularly disadvantaged already marginalized communities. The pandemic has highlighted existing fault lines in the protection of children and exacerbated inequalities in Australian society.
This project aims to analyse the State and Federal response to the pandemic and its impact on the rights of children. It will also assess the exacerbating effect of socio-economic disadvantage; race; disability and sex on child rights during periods of lockdown and restriction.
COVID-19 Civil Disobedience: Regulating Public Assembly During a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has required state-based legislation in an attempt to curb the potential spread of the virus. This legislation has granted extraordinary powers to regulate public movement while increasing penalties and enforcement powers held by the police. Simultaneously, peaceful assemblies of people committing civil disobedience have broken out in response, concerning two predominant issues: the systemic inequalities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at the hands of state police forces and the belief that the regulations are unjustified and that COVID-19 is actually a conspiracy. This project aims to analyse the restrictions placed of the freedom of public assembly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also examine the civil disobedience committed during this period of restriction and the countervailing justifications and the response from law enforcement.
The Digital Divide and Fulfilling the Human Right to Education in Western Sydney
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital connectivity in daily life. Access to reliable internet and adequate data has been critical in mitigating the impact of stay-at-home restrictions. The pandemic has also highlighted the digital divide in Australian society, particularly in the area of education. The impact of remote education has not been uniform. Attempts to curb the spread of the virus led to widespread adoption of remote learning for Australian children in 2020. The virus, and measures adopted to curb its spread, have been most detrimental to the rights of children from lower socio-economic backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The impact of digital exclusion has been particularly pronounced in Western Sydney. In such an environment, there is a need to equip Australian governments and stakeholders with an understanding of what worked and what did not in the provision of education during the Covid-19 pandemic and how to best provide free education for all Australian children, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, in Western Sydney in the future.
The Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project
The Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project is a consortium of legal scholars from a range of universities, formed in 2013. Since then, the Project has conducted a series of workshops in different centres around Myanmar with lawyers, judges, politicians, journalists, students, activists from civil society, ethnic leaders, and interested members of the public <https://www.law.unsw.edu.au/research/centres-and-institutes/southeast-asia-law-and-policy-forum>. The aim of the workshops has been to foster discussion of the fundamental principles informing constitutional democracy, departing from the premise that constitutional democracy cannot be sustained unless it is built from the bottom up by the people themselves. The WSU representative of the Project is Professor Catherine Rensha
Media release from Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project
Submission to Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade