About Us

About the AHRCentre

The AHRCentre is an inter-disciplinary research and teaching institute based in the Faculty of Law, UNSW.  Established in 1986, the AHRCentre is one of the oldest Centres in the Faculty of Law and is highly respected as a focus of academic and public intellectual thought in the human rights sphere in Australia and overseas. The AHRCentre promotes public awareness and academic scholarship about domestic and international human rights standards, laws and procedures through research projects, education programs and publications.

The Centre brings together lawyers, policy makers, researchers and students from Australian and international organisations and universities to engage in research and teaching activities and public debate on a range of human rights issues. These include, for example, issues related to disability, violence, gender, social security, new and social media, migrants and refugees, housing and health.

The Centre publishes the Australian Journal of Human Rights, a high quality peer-reviewed research publication and the Human Rights Defender, a more informal and accessible publication for a general audience. Each year, the AHRCentre convenes a number of public seminars and events, co-ordinates human rights courses and internships for students and hosts a number of international and Australian Visiting Fellows.


AHRCentre objectives


The AHRCentre aims to increase public awareness of and academic scholarship in domestic and international human rights standards, laws and procedures through research projects, education programs and publications. Its primary objectives are to:

  • undertake and facilitate interdisciplinary human rights research projects 
  • develop human rights educational initiatives by hosting workshops, seminars and conferences, co-ordinating interdisciplinary human rights teaching and internship programs and providing a forum for domestic and international scholarship and debate on contemporary human rights issues
  • provide accessible information on significant human rights developments in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and internationally, facilitate access to online human rights resources via the AHRCentre website and publish the Australian Journal of Human Rights, the Human Rights Defender and occasional papers and publications.


AHRCentre Annual Lecture

Each year, the AHRCentre hosts an Annual Public Lecture featuring an Australian or international speaker on a topic of contemporary human rights significance. The inaugural lecture in 2005, featured international author, David Malouf, who addressed the topic ‘Challenging Indifference’. More recent speakers include:

2014: Zimbabwean human rights lawyer and joint winner of the 2014 US Government’s International Women of Courage Award, 'Beatrice Mtetwa and The Rule of Law'.

2012: American playwright, performer, writer and human rights activist, Eve Ensler on ‘Until the Violence Stops’.

2011: United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich on ‘The United States and Australia's commitment to human rights in the Asia-Pacific’.

2010: Albie Sachs, former Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, on ‘Truth, reconciliation, justice and gross violations of the past’.

The lecture attracts 300-plus people, including legal practitioners and representatives from government, the judiciary, the media, the private sector, academia, community organisations and the general public.


AHRCentre seminar program, exhibitions, film screenings

In addition to conducting an extensive annual seminar program featuring academics and practitioners, the AHRCentre is keen to ensure that human rights violations and their resolution are depicted via a variety of accessible and effective mediums, such as photographic exhibitions, panel discussions and film screenings.