Responding to repression and strengthening human rights systems | In conversation with Human Rights Watch’s Tirana Hassan – Law School: Events Responding to repression and strengthening human rights systems | In conversation with Human Rights Watch’s Tirana Hassan – Law School: Events

Responding to repression and strengthening human rights systems | In conversation with Human Rights Watch’s Tirana Hassan

Responding to Repression and Strengthening Human Rights Systems | In conversation with Human Rights Watch’s Tirana Hassan

In-person event

The last few years have seen extensive human rights suppression and wartime atrocities. Selective government outrage and transactional diplomacy has carried profound costs for the rights of those not in on the deal. The drivers of these human rights crises and their consequences often transcend borders and cannot be solved by governments acting alone. Understanding and responding to these threats needs to be rooted in universal principles of international human rights and the rule of law. These ideas built on shared human histories agreed upon by nations across all regions 75 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the basis for all contemporary human rights conventions and treaties.

This foundation is needed now more than ever. But this very system we rely on to protect the human rights of people everywhere is under threat. Every time a government overlooks or rejects these universal and globally accepted principles, someone pays a price – in freedoms and liberties, in their health or livelihood, and at times their lives. Australia grapples with the far-reaching arm of transnational repression while at the same time it chooses to sacrifice human rights in the name of military alliances, enabling autocrats, particularly across the Southeast Asia region, to erode the independence of key institutions vital for protecting human rights.

These topics will be traversed in a conversation between Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Tirana Hassan, and the University of Sydney’s Ben Saul.

About the speakers:

Tirana Hassan is Executive Director at Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations, which operates in more than 90 countries and has over 500 staff members.

Tirana specializes in human rights protection in conflicts and crises. Prior to becoming Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director, Tirana served as director of Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Program and served on the organization’s interim executive team. Between 2010-2015, Tirana worked as a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Division. She has worked with various non-governmental organizations including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children. Tirana was a founding member of a refugee legal service in Australia in the early 2000s.

She has carried out and lead teams of investigations in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, as well as East and West Africa. She has authored reports and op-eds for major publications worldwide.

Tirana graduated with honors degrees in both social work and law in Australia and holds a master’s in international human rights law from Oxford University.


Professor Ben Saul is Challis Chair of International Law at The University of Sydney and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism.

Friday 12 April, 12.30-2pm AEDT

Venue: Level 4, Common Room, New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, Camperdown campus

CPD Points: 1.5

This event is proudly presented by the Sydney Centre for International Law at The University of Sydney Law School and Human Rights Watch.

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Apr 12 2024


12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

More Info



Common Room, Level 4, Sydney Law School
New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney (Camperdown Campus)


Professional Learning & Community Engagement
02 9351 0248

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