The Fifth Estate
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In the past year alone, we’ve seen escalating international refugee crises, millions of people caught amidst conflict and violence from Syria to South Sudan, and innumerable atrocities committed by armed groups and states — the global response to which has been deemed ineffective at best. Australia’s own treatment of asylum seekers has also been shown to breach multiple international human rights conventions.
How do we exercise, assert and defend human rights when they’re under threat from so many angles?
In this edition of the Fifth Estate, host Sally Warhaft will speak with Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch (Washington DC) and Julian Burnside, human rights and refugee advocate, about how we can form effective responses to human rights breaches.
What international emergencies and war zones are the current focus of Human Rights Watch, and why? What are the emerging trends and challenges in human rights advocacy, both globally and locally? And with Australia's chequered record — from Terra Nullius to widespread institutionalised abuse to immigration policy, and a prime minister who is ‘sick of being lectured to by the UN’ — what clout do we wield in the global arena?
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Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Tom Porteous is the Deputy Program Director at Human Rights Watch, and is based in Washington DC. He joined Human Rights Watch in 2006 as the London director responsible for communications and advocacy in the United Kingdom. Porteous has a background in journalism, diplomacy, and UN peacekeeping.
Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who specialises in commercial litigation and is also deeply involved in human rights work, in particular in relation to refugees.
Sally Warhaft has been the Wheeler Centre’s in-house news anchor since 2012. In 2018 – over 100 episodes in – the anthropologist, broadcaster and intrepid interviewer’s fortnightly live series continues, as she responds to the most important debates of the day and reignites stories that have fallen off the front pages.
Every second Tuesday, Sally hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs. It’s an event series and a live podcast taping rolled into one. Topical guests are announced in the weeks prior to events: keep an eye on our website (or in the Wheeler Weekly) for updates.
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Follow the discussion on Twitter. #TWCFifthEstate