A new book by former Secretary to the UN Commission on Human Rights John Pace, details the entire record of the Commission and the Human Rights Council since the inception of UN work in human rights in 1946.
Former High Court Justice the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG and Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and Professor of Law Megan Davis will join the author in conversation about his new book, moderated by Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute Professor Justine Nolan.
This event is co-hosted by the Australian Human Rights Institute and the International Law Association Australia.
Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge. He served as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1975-83); Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84); Judge of the Federal Court of Australia (1983-4); President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96); President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-96) and Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996-2009).
He has undertaken many international activities for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the OECD and the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He has also worked in civil society, being elected President of the International Commission of Jurists (1995-8). His recent international activities have included member of the Eminent Persons Group on the Future of the Commonwealth of Nations (2010-11); Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12); Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea) (2013-14); and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Healthcare (2015-16). He is also heavily engaged in international arbitrations; domestic mediations; and teaching law. He is Honorary Professor at 12 Australian and overseas universities.
In 1990 he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. In 1998, he was named Laurette of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education. In 2010 he was named co-winner of the Gruber Justice Prize. In 2011 he received the inaugural Australian Privacy Medal. The honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of the University have been conferred on him by universities in Australia and overseas. He lives in Sydney with his partner since 1969, Johan van Vloten.
Megan Davis was raised in Queensland by a mother with a love of literature and a zealous commitment to education. She has emerged as a national and international leader for Indigenous peoples, most recently as an elected member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and a Referendum Council member. Megan is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous at UNSW.
Justine Nolan is a Professor in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney and Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute. Justine's research focuses on the intersection of business and human rights, in particular, supply chain responsibility for human rights and modern slavery. Her 2019 co-authored book Addressing Modern Slavery examines how consumers, business and government are both part of the problem and the solution in curbing modern slavery in global supply chains (see review in The Australian or other reviews here). Other recent books include The International Law of Human Rights (OUP, 2017) and Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice (Routledge, 2016). She teaches international human rights law and related courses on global law, development, globalisation and business and human rights. Justine works closely with business, government and civil society and has been a key driver of the Australian business and human rights movement. In 2019 she was named 'Academic of the Year' at the Australian Law Awards. From 2016-2019 she served as Associate Dean Academic at UNSW Law. She is an Associate of the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW) and a Visiting Professorial Scholar at NYU's Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
In the course of a career spanning more than 50 years in the field of human rights, John Pace has worked in a wide range of human rights activities at the international and regional level.
He has headed several sectors of the human rights programme and was Secretary to the Commission on Human Rights (1978 to 1994) and Coordinator of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1991 to 1993).
He has a long association with UNSW, where he has taught and headed the Australian Centre for Human Rights in the early 2000s. He is currently Senior Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Law and Justice and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Diplomacy Training Programme.
His work, The UN Commission on Human Rights: ‘A Very Great Enterprise’, was published by OUP in 2020.