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Human rights to take centre stage at Sydney Town Hall

More than 1400 people have already registered for a major public event in Sydney next Monday where key contemporary Australian human rights issues will be discussed.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is presenting a free public event, Human Rights 2011, at the Sydney Town Hall on Monday 23 May 2011, featuring the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Her Excellency Navi Pillay, the "Father of Reconciliation" Patrick Dodson, and Paris Aristotle from the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, or Foundation House.

Human Rights 2011 is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' major public speaking engagement while she is in Australia.

Ms Pillay will be speaking about her vision for international human rights at a time of intense global turmoil. As part of her visit, the UN High Commissioner is also meeting with Aboriginal representatives from across the Northern Territory and in Queensland.

Leading Australian dance company, the Bangarra Dance Theatre, will also be performing on the night which will be facilitated by popular TV broadcaster Indira Naidoo.

Commission President Catherine Branson QC said some of the pressing  human rights issues to be discussed include the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Northern Territory Intervention, sexuality issues and global human rights challenges triggered by the so-called "Facebook revolutions."

"Human Rights 2011 is a must for anyone interested in these complex and vitally important issues facing our country" Ms Branson said.

The night is guaranteed to provide a lively and interactive panel discussion around these issues and hopefully provide some thought provoking commentary and insights to guide us into the future as we confront human rights issues on an increasingly global scale.


Paris Aristotle AM, Director of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc, said Human Rights 2011 provided a much needed opportunity for the community to take part in a considered and measured discussion of major human rights issues.

"The consideration of issues such as Australia's policy towards asylum seekers is all too often distorted by misperceptions and undue fears, and by divisive political jousting," Mr Aristotle said."Human Rights 2011 is an opportunity for people to take part in an informed dialogue which hopefully will strengthen their commitment and capacity to contribute to protecting the human rights of everyone."

High profile Indigenous leader and co-chair of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, Professor Patrick Dodson, said Human Rights 2011 was a chance not to be missed. "Human Rights 2011 is a chance for the community to discuss the things closest to our hearts when it comes to the sort of Australia we want to have in the 21st Century and the legacy we want to leave our children," Professor Dodson said.

Places are limited and are filling fast so register now at :


This free public event will be held at the Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney, on Monday 23 May 2011 at 5.00pm for 5.30pm ­ til 7.00pm.

Up to the minute information on human rights is now available on twitter by clicking here.


For media inquiries concerning this event please contact Louise McDermott on (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597


Mon 23 May 2011, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM


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Created 23rd May 2011

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