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?
Follow the discussion on Twitter with #FifthEstate.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. 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.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
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. In the 1980s and early 1990s he was a freelance correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, the BBC, and other media, first in Cairo and later in Berlin, Algeria, and Morocco. He worked in UN peacekeeping operations in Somalia and Liberia. He also served as conflict management adviser for Africa in the UK's Foreign Office from 2001 to 2003. Porteous studied classics at Oxford University.
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.
For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate.
This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Twice a month, our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.
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