The right to health in Zimbabwe: interpreting Australia's transnational human rights obligations

Event date: 
1 Sep 2009 (All day)


The health system in Zimbabwe, once the envy of Africa, has virtually collapsed. Thousands have died of cholera in the past year and many more are at risk in future outbreaks of this and similar diseases that thrive where water and sanitation services are poor. The Mugabe/Zanu PF-led reign of terror has spawned massive inflation and diminishing salaries, declining transportation networks and deteriorating working conditions, with thousands of well-trained health workers migrating to other countries. Australia has been one of the major beneficiaries of this migration. Exploring the evolution of the doctrine of responsibility to protect, international law and human rights conventions, and development and aid objectives, the seminar will consider what, if any, are Australia’s legal obligations towards realising the right to health in countries where the health system is a casualty of political conflict and economic collapse.

Andrea Durbach is Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre and Associate Professor at UNSW Faculty of Law.

Beth Goldblatt is Research Fellow in the Disability Studies and Research Centre and Visiting Fellow at the Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW.