Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration – A flawed document, but not all bad news

By Imelda Deinla

Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU

ASEAN adopts Human Rights DeclarationSource: deutsche welle/associated press

ASEAN adopts Human Rights Declaration
Source: deutsche welle/associated press

The form and content of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration reflect the complex process involved in the drafting, negotiation and approval of the final document among ten governments with diverse human rights and political practices. The final product of this political process, the Declaration, reveals a negotiated and pragmatic approach to the realization of human rights in member countries. Continue Reading →


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The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration – Cause for Celebration?

By Catherine Shanahan Renshaw

Faculty of Law, University of Sydney

NZnationalparty's photostream, flickr

ASEAN country flags. Photo from NZnationalparty’s photostream, flickr

The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (‘the Declaration’) is not the unequivocal endorsement of universal human rights that civil society organisations had hoped for.  Yet, neither is it an affirmation of cultural relativism, the supremacy of state sovereignty, or the principle of non-interference.  In most respects, the drafters achieved their aim, which was to ensure that the Declaration met the standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and also contained an “added value” for Southeast Asia.  Continue Reading →


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Centre for International Governance & Justice: News and Events

Sally MerrySally Merry to Visit CIGJ
Sally Merry, Adjunct Professor at RegNet and Professor of Anthropology in the Institute for Law and Society at New York University, returns to the CIGJ in March. Sally is the author (with Mark Goodale) of The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local and of Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice. Her work highlights what she describes as ‘the vernacularisation’ of rights, or how international human rights are interpreted and realised at the local level.

 Visiting PhD Scholarships Reminder
A reminder to PhD scholars that applications for visiting scholarships at the Centre, close at the end of this month.

The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration – Cause for Celebration?
Civil society organisations have long advocated for a regional Human Rights mechanism for South East Asia. Their efforts were finally rewarded on the 18 November 2012, with the Phnom Penh Statement heralding the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. But is the Declaration really cause for celebration? Continue Reading →


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New National Children’s Commissioner — Triumph or Timewaster?

By Mhairi Cowden

Following an intense few months of lobbying by advocacy groups, it was announced earlier last year that the Gillard government would establish a new National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

For nearly 20 years advocacy groups within Australia have been calling for the role to be established and it is exciting to see Australia finally take an important step forward in fulfilling its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC).

Having achieved this important goal it is now worth asking — will a National Children’s Commissioner work to enhance and secure the rights of Australian children, or will they be just another adult in the hierarchy of government?

Here I present a case for cautious optimism. Continue Reading →