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Inspirational book on human rights launched today

Media release

C254/08

18 September 2008

Stories about asylum seekers and Australian detention centres feature in an inspirational new book officially launched in Melbourne today.

Human Rights Overboard, published by Scribe Publications, is the result of a three year inquiry auspiced by the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work.  The authors of the book are Professor Linda Briskman, the Dr Haruhisa Chair of Human Rights Education at Curtin University of Technology, Susie Latham, a volunteer at Melbourne’s Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre and an adjunct research associate with Curtin’s Human Rights Education Centre  and Chris Goddard, Director of Child Abuse Research Australia at Monash University.

It draws together, for the first time, the oral testimony and written submissions from the People’s Inquiry into Detention, citizen-driven inquiry that commenced in 2005 on Australian immigration-detention facilities.

Until then, the Federal Government had refused to conduct a broad ranging investigation into immigration detention and the operations within detention centres had been largely shrouded in official secrecy.

Professor Briskman was a convenor of the inquiry which held 10 hearings across the country.

“During these hearings we heard many demoralising stories about asylum-seekers’ journeys to Australia, their refugee determination process, life in detention, and life after detention,” Professor Briskman said.

“In total around 200 people testified including asylum seekers, refugees, professionals and refugee advocates and another 200 written submissions were received.

“Human Rights Overboard is full of  harrowing stories that bear testimony to a humanitarian disaster that Australia caused, and sounds a warning to current and future policy makers.”

Prominent humanitarian lawyer Julian Burnside , who provides the book’s foreword, officially launched the book in Melbourne.

Professor Briskman of St James is also Director of the Curtin Centre for Human Rights Education. She delivered the Eileen Younghusband lecture in South Africa in July at the International Association of Schools of Social Work conference – an award for her work including the  People’s Inquiry into Detention. She is also author of  Social Work with Indigenous Communities and The Black Grapevine.

Attention Editor/COS: A colour jpg image of the book cover is available on request.

Modified: 18 September 2008