Human rights are universal principles that apply to all people, regardless of their race, gender, religion, or any other characteristic. They are the foundation of a just and equitable society, ensuring that every individual is entitled to basic freedoms and protections.
Unfortunately, human rights violations are all too common in many parts of the world. From discrimination and inequality to censorship and repression, millions of people suffer every day from abuses of their basic rights. However, it is not just a problem that exists outside of Australia. Even within our borders, there are ongoing issues with systemic discrimination, the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and the protection of Indigenous rights.
Together, we will explore topics such as the role of international law in protecting human rights, the challenges of enforcing human rights in practice, the intersectionality of human rights issues, and the importance of community activism in promoting change. By coming together and engaging in thoughtful dialogue, we hope to increase awareness and understanding of human rights issues, and inspire action towards a more just and equitable society.
Caitlin is the CEO of the Human Rights Law Centre. She is a human rights lawyer who has spent the past 25 years working globally and in various countries on international criminal law, justice reform policy, and specific processes to address the legacy of mass atrocities. She has worked closely with civil society and victims' groups, governments, UN agencies, judiciaries and the legal profession, whether in programme design and management, technical assistance, capacity development and policy development. She held senior roles within the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the International Centre for Transitional Justice, the United Nations Development Programme, and is a co-founder of the Judicial System Monitoring Programme in Timor Leste.
Caitlin's work has included the interplay between truth-telling, reparations, criminal justice and institutional reform efforts, including in Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Colombia. She headed the European Union's flagship access to justice programme in Myanmar, MyJustice, which used arts, culture and social media platforms to improve public awareness of fundamental rights, and supported recognition of traditional and informal justice systems as part of peace negotiations.
Prior to joining the Human Rights Law Centre, Caitlin served as Director of Strategic Policy and Research at the Yoorrook Justice Commission, after supporting the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria in the design of the Commission and its mandate.
Caitlin holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Laws (International Criminal Law, Human Rights) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Rachel is the CEO of the Reichstein Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that began as a traditional supporter of established charities and is now actively involved in nurturing systems change and community and changemaker development.
Rachel is a not-for-profit leader and human rights advocate with 20 years' experience working in Australia and overseas to secure progressive, system change. She's held senior leadership roles at the Human Rights Law Centre, Oxfam Australia and, most recently, the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, where she supported Assembly Members to negotiate the foundations for Treaty-making in Victoria.
Rachel has expertise working with diverse stakeholders to design and deliver strategies that challenge unfair power structures, including through rights-based advocacy and campaigns, strategic litigation, political engagement and corporate accountability.
Rachel holds degrees in politics and law from Monash University and a Masters of Laws from Columbia University in New York.