Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law is a research centre located within the Monash University Law Faculty in Victoria, Australia. It was established in 2000 to meet the need for, and interest in, the study of human rights law globally, regionally and in Australia. It grew rapidly to become the largest research centre in the Monash Law School.[1] It is the preeminent human rights centre in the Asia-Pacific region,[2] and is one of Australia's most respected human rights monitoring organisations.[3] Its function is to bring together the work of national and international human rights scholars, practitioners and advocates from a wide range of disciplines in order to promote and protect human rights.

The Centre is named after Ron Castan AM, QC (1939-1999), a distinguished barrister who was a prominent advocate of human rights.[1][4] His daughter, Melissa Castan, is Deputy Director of the Centre.


The Centre's main activities are research, teaching, public education (lectures, seminars, conferences, parliamentary submissions, internships and media presentations), applied research, advice work, policy work and consultancies.

Teaching and research[edit]

In teaching, it offers Australia's only Master of Laws in Human Rights. In collaboration with law firm Holding Redlich, it runs the Holding Redlich Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Program, which attracts human rights experts from around the world to give public lectures on key human rights issues.[5] Recent Fellows include Justice Richard Goldstone (2009), Justice Thomas Buergenthal (2009), Kirsty Sword Gusmão (2008) and Professor Peter Russell (2006). Additionally, Monash students and staff and the general public enjoy regular lectures by prominent human rights academics and advocates hosted by the Centre, with recent guest speakers including prominent barrister Julian Burnside QC, East Timor President Dr José Ramos-Horta, the Dalai Lama, former British first lady Cherie Booth QC, Indigenous Australians Senator Aden Ridgeway and Noel Pearson, former Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer MP and Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd MP.[6] The Centre administers numerous student internships enabling Monash undergraduate students to work at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Khmer Rouge trials.[7]

Castan Centre staff undertake and publish extensive research in a wide range of areas related to human rights. To this end, it has received extensive funding from both government and non-government organisations, as well as some private industry sponsorship.[8] Some of the Centre's past projects have included an investigation into the role of the World Trade Organization in promoting human rights,[9] and the human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations.[10]

Consultancy and training[edit]

In its advisory and consultancy capacity, it advises and produces research papers for a range of human rights-related organisations, such as the World Bank, the World Organisation Against Torture, the Indonesian Ministries of Justice and Finance, the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.[11] Castan Centre staff have also been retained to conduct training and advice in some of the worlds human rights troublespots, such as Yangon in Burma.[12]

Management and governance[edit]

The Centre is guided and governed by an Advisory Board which consists of several notable legal practitioners and researchers.[13] Current members of the Board include:

The current Director of the Castan Centre is human rights scholar Professor Sarah Joseph.[14] She replaced Founding Director Professor David Kinley, who served until 2005.[15] Joseph is best known internationally for her work on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).[16]

The Centre has 5 Deputy Directors. The Deputy Directors are academic staff members of the Monash University Law Faculty and are responsible (with the Director) for the management of the Castan Centre:

The Castan Centre also has a number of Associates:

  • Dr Heli Askola
  • Associate Professor Gideon Boas
  • Ms Azadeh Dastyari
  • Dr Patrick Emerton
  • Dr Stephen Gray
  • Ms Tania Penovic
  • Dr Joanna Kyriakakis
  • David Yarrow

The Castan Centre has three full-time staff members, the Centre Manager, Project Officer and Centre Administrator.


  1. ^ a b Castan Centre for Human Rights
  2. ^ Monash Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Archived 2007-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ NIT Archived 2009-10-23 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ LAUNCH OF THE CASTAN CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS LAW MELBOURNE, TUESDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2000 Archived 20 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Holding Redlich - Law Firm Melbourne Sydney Brisbane - Holding Redlich Firm Profile". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  6. ^ Public Events Archived 2007-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ International Study and Internships Archived 2008-04-03 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Research Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Archived 2008-07-25 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Archived 2007-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Archived 2008-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Advisory Board
  14. ^ Our People
  15. ^ Professor David Kinley - Sydney Law School - The University of Sydney Archived 2008-03-16 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Joseph to direct Monash human rights centre[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]