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Only Human: 70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Event Status

In December 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, setting out a standard of basic rights and freedoms inherent and inalienable to all human beings across the globe.

Seventy years later, we’ll look back on this revolutionary moment and reflect on the status and progress of human rights today. Our panel of experts will discuss some of Australia’s human rights failings – the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and offshore detention for asylum seekers, in particular – within the context of the global progress towards improved human rights.

Who are the critics, and what are the criticisms, of the theoretical and legal framework of human rights? And what does it mean when our elected representatives openly flout our obligations?

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Presented in partnership with the Human Rights Law Centre.


Ruth Barson

Ruth Barson has worked to advance the human rights of people enmeshed in the criminal justice system for over a decade. She leads the Human Rights Law Centre’s work advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and children and adults in jails across Australia. Ruth... Read more

Nyadol Nyuon

Nyadol Nyuon is a commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler and a community advocate.   She was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. At eighteen, Nyadol moved to Australia as a refugee. Since then she has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Vict... Read more

Hugh de Kretser

Hugh de Kretser is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre. He has worked on family violence, sexual assault and criminal justice issues for over a decade across his current role and previously as Executive Officer of the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres (2007–2013) an... Read more

Damian Griffis

Damian Griffis is a descendant of the Worimi people of the Manning Valley in NSW. He is a leading advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. Damian has been a central figure in the establishment of both the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and the... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.