IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C2.1, Convention Centre, Level 2

Session information

Race and refugee issues in Australia: are policies of detention and separation working?
Room C2.1, Convention Centre, Level 2


IBA's Human Rights Institute (Lead)
Human Rights Law Committee
Immigration and Nationality Law Committee


Has Australia become a detention society? The detention of refugees on Nauru and (until recently) Manus Island, and the attempts to address problems within indigenous communities, highlight the conundrum in balancing community needs with individual rights. This session is the first of a duo that is convened cooperatively by the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee and the Human Rights Law Committee. This session will accompany the second session in this suite: ‘Rights without borders?: Is the concept of asylum alive and well in a post-truth world?’, which is taking place on Tuesday, 0930 – 1230 and is also co-hosted by all three entities as well as the European Regional Forum. The first session will focus solely on Australia, while the second session will explore the current situation of refugees and asylum seekers in a global context. Therefore, in this session, a panel of experts will discuss issues related to asylum seekers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities in Australia both historically and in the present-day. The panel will explore relevant legislation, highlight the role of the legal profession and non governmental organisations (NGOs) and discuss whether innovative models can provide forward-thinking solutions that enhance the work of bodies such as the United Nations. The panel will discuss these issues in an informal way and will also participate in an audience Q&A. The IBA’s Human Rights Institute, the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee and the Human Rights Law Committee look forward to sharing experiences and discussing the way forward with attendees of both this session and the session on Tuesday as they will complement each other, provide insight into these issues at a national and international level and, most importantly, provide an opportunity from legal professionals to meet and learn from each other.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Hans Corell Former Legal Counsel of the United Nations, Stockholm, Sweden; Co-Chair, IBA's Human Rights Institute


Julian Burnside AO QC Victorian Bar, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Professor Mary E Crock Sydney Law School, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Andrea Mason Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC), Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Sheryn Omeri KC Cloisters, London, England
Brendan Thomas Legal Aid NSW, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia