Castan Centre for Human Rights Law - Human Rights Career Series

Human Rights Careers Week 2012

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law is proud to announce the 2012 human rights careers series. The aim of the series is to educate students about the many career pathways open to human rights lawyers and the career progression of human rights lawyers, as guidance for students planning their careers.

Each seminar will feature three speakers who will discuss their career path briefly and then provide an overview of the human rights careers available at the organisation they currently work for.  Students will then have ample time to ask the speakers questions.

International Human Rights Careers

Date:   Monday 6 August
Time:   1:00 – 2:00pm
Location:  Room G23, building 6, Monash University Clayton Campus

  • Jonathon O'Donohue, Legal Advisor on International Justice, Amnesty International Australia

  • Amalia Fawcett, Senior Child's Rights Specialist, Plan International

  • Kate Orange, Senior Legal Office, International Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Branch, Attorney-General's Department

Domestic Human Rights Careers

Date:   Wednesday, 8 August
Time:   12:00 – 1:00 pm
Location:  Room G23, building 6, Monash University Clayton Campus

  • Belinda Lo, Principal Lawyer, Eastern Community Legal Centre

  • Gudrun Dewey, Senior Legal Advisor, Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission

  • Michael Power, Lawyer - Law Reform, Environmental Defender's Office 


Previous Careers Seminars


Domestic Human Rights Careers

Date:   Tuesday 7 September
Time:   1:00 – 2:00pm
Location:  Lecture theatre M2, building 13A, Monash University Clayton Campus

  • Anna Serry, Lawyer, Victorian Bar Pro Bono Scheme, Public Interest Law Clearing House

  • Elizabeth Wall, Legal Policy,  Human Rights Unit of the Victoria Department of Justice

  • Kerin Leonard, Manager Legal Unit, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Miss the seminar? Download the audio of this session here.
 (To listen to this recording using Mediaplayer you will need to download the plug-in
Video of this event  can be found below or on our YouTube Channel

International Human Rights Careers

Date:   Wednesday, 8 September
Time:   1:00 – 2:00 pm
Location:  Lecture theatre L5, Law Building

  • Louise Searle, Senior Advisor, Humanitarian Protection, World Vision

  • Andrew Beswick, Campaigns Manager, Amnesty International Australia

  • Returned volunteer, Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development

Miss the seminar? Download the audio of this session here.
(To listen to this recording using Mediaplayer you will need to download the plug-in
Video of this event is available below or on our YouTube Channel.

International Humanitarian Law & the Young Lawyer: Internships at International Tribunals

This seminar is being held in conjunction with the Australian Red Cross and is focused on those interested in international humanitarian law and international criminal law. 

Please join us for a career forum on opportunities for young lawyers and law students to gain practical experience from overseas in the field of IHL. Hear from a range of speakers about their personal stories and impressions of working as an intern at the ICTY, ICTR and ECCC. There will be a chance to ask questions about what skills and experience you need to develop in order to be successful in applying for an internship yourself.

Date:     Wednesday, 8 September
Time:     6:00pm to 7:30pm
Venue:  L5 Theatre, Building 12 (Law Faculty), Monash University, Clayton Campus
Cost:     Free
RSVP:    to register attendance for this seminar only or for more information, email Pip at

Miss the seminar? Download the audio of this session here.
 (To listen to this recording using Mediaplayer you will need to download the plug-in
Video of this event will be available shortly here and on our YouTube site.

Previous Careers Series Seminars

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law runs a Human Rights Career Series for students.  The aim of the series is to educate students about the many career pathways open to human rights lawyers and the career progression of human rights lawyers, as guidance for students planning their careers.  The Centre invites one or two guests each semester to speak to students about aspects of their human rights career progress, including their studies, volunteer work, etc, as well as discussing some interesting aspects of their current and past human rights work. To date our speakers have been:


Eila Pourasgheri, Lawyer, Women's Legal Service Victoria

Eila provides pro bono legal advice, education and representation to women who have gone through a relationship breakdown or are experiencing domestic violence in her role at Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV). In the past decade, Eila has worked in corporate law, with the state government and in the non-profit sector both here and overseas.  During her time overseas, Eila worked as an Australian Youth Ambassador with the Public Solicitors’ Office in Vanuatu and took on a role at the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre in Phnom Penh. Her more recent work for WLSV included a submission to the Senate regarding the Personal Property Securities Bill, where she stressed the need for any registration system under the Act to respect the needs of abused women to remain anonymous, so they need not fear being tracked by former partners or other family members.  Eila has a law degree and a Masters of International Law.  She was admitted to practice in 1999.
Seminar presentation


Anna Forsyth, Legal Officer, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Anna Forsyth is a Legal Officer in the Human Rights Unit of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.  In this role, she is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the operation of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, intervening in court or tribunal cases where Charter issues are raised, as well as reviewing the practices and programs of public authorities for their human rights compliance.  Anna graduated from Monash University with a combined arts/law degree, and completed an article clerkship at Deacons.  She worked as a practicing solicitor for the Tenants Union of Victoria and as a Youth Policy Officer at the Council to Homeless Persons prior to joining the VEOHRC.
Seminar notes

Vanessa Zimmerman, Legal Adviser to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Business and Human Rights

Vanessa Zimmerman is a legal adviser to Professor John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the United Nations’ Secretary General on Business and Human Rights (SRSG). She advises on issues of international and national law related to his SRSG mandate and to date has focused on the role of states in regulating and adjudicating corporate activities with respect to human rights.  Vanessa has a B.A. and LL.B. (Hons.) from Monash University and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. She has worked as a solicitor in the competition law group at Mallesons Stephen Jaques and as a corporate lawyer at Telstra. Vanessa has also worked with the Australian Delegation to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Seminar summary


Shanta Martin, Mining Ombudsman and Extractive Industries Co-Ordinator, Oxfam Australia

Shanta Martin is a specialist in corporate accountability for human rights and an International law and litigation expert. Before commencing with Oxfam, Shanta worked in Argentina and Guatamala with organisations dedicated to improving environmental and labour standards.  Prior to that, she was convenor of the Amnesty International Corporate Responsibility Group in Melbourne and founding coordinator of the Mallesons Stephen Jacques Human Rights Law Group.  Shanta has Bachelor of Laws and Science degrees from Monash University and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Melbourne.
Seminar summary

Phil Lynch, Director, Human Rights Law Resource Centre

The Human Rights Law Resource Centre is Australia's first specialist human rights legal service. The Centre was established in January 2006 to promote and protect human rights in Australia through the practice of law. From 2001 to 2005, Philip was the founding Coordinator of the PILCH Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic which was conferred with the Australian Human Rights Law Award in 2005. Philip has also worked as a commercial lawyer with Allens Arthur Robinson. Philip has practiced and written widely in the areas of human rights, homelessness and corporate social responsibility. He is an Editor of the Alternative Law Journal and a Board member of the Federation of Community Legal Centres.
Seminar summary

Gideon Boas, International Humanitarian Law Lecturer

Gideon Boas lectures in International Humanitarian Law in the postgraduate program at Monash University. In addition, he is Senior Consultant to Potter Farrelly & Associates in matters of electronic litigation and justice, and aided the review of new charges for David’s Hicks defence. In 1998, Gideon was appointed to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. From 2004-06, he was Senior Legal Officer to the Tribunal, and was responsible for the management of the Trial Chamber. Gideon was previously International Humanitarian Law Officer to the Australian Red Cross. He has recently completed his PhD upon the ‘Conduct of International Criminal Proceedings’. Gideon completed his LLM at the University of Melbourne in 2000.
Seminar summary


Reena Ghelani, Deputy Head of Office, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Prior to her appointment at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Reena worked in other UN positions, including as a Protection Officer in Iraq for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and as a Protection/Human Rights Officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). Outside of the UN, Reena has also worked as a Programme Officer for AusAID, and as a Child Protection Officer for the Department of Human Services in Melbourne. Reena is in the process of completing a Masters in International and Public Law at Melbourne University and has completed a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University.

Fiona McLeay, General Counsel at World Vision, Australia
Prior to Fiona's appointment in February 2006 as General Counsel at World Vision, Australia's largest private aid and development NGO, she was Special Counsel at law firm Clayton Utz.  In addition to working in the firm's construction and engineering group, she coordinated the pro bono program of the Melbourne office of the firm, and developed and directed Community Connect, the firm's corporate citizenship program.  In 2004-05, Fiona attended New York University Law School and completed an LLM in Global Public Service Law.  Prior to that, she completed an LLM in international law at the University of Melbourne.  She graduated with a LLB from the University of New South Wales in 1995 and also has a BA (Hons) from Melbourne University.
Seminar summary

Madeline Garlick, Senior EU Affairs Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Brussels
Madeline is responsible for liaison with the European Union institutions and the EU Member States on behalf of the UN refugee agency, she provides advice and input to the EU on asylum and refugee law, practice and policy. The work focuses on promoting the development of EU and national laws on asylum which are consistent with international standards, including the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention. She has previously been involved with UN peacekeeping and political affairs in Cyprus, and with the Office of the High Representative in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Nicole Hogg, Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross regional delegation for the Pacific
Her role is to assist governments in the region to ratify and implement international treaties relating to International Humanitarian Law.  Previously Nicole worked for the ICRC as a protection delegate in Israel and the Occupied Territories and in the volatile western region of Ivory Coast. Nicole undertook her Law/Arts degree in Melbourne, finishing in 1995, after which she spent several years practising in Melbourne as a commercial lawyer.  In 2000-2001, she studied a Master of Laws at McGill University in Canada, specialising in human rights law and international criminal law.  Her Master's thesis topic was on Women Accused of Genocide in Rwanda, for which she spent several months conducting research with female detainees, lawyers and survivor groups in Rwanda, and visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania. Upon her return to Australia in 2002, Nicole worked as a research solicitor at the Law Institute of Victoria, managing the Administrative Law & Human Rights section, the Family Law Section and the International Law Briefing Committee.


Kate Eastman, Human Rights Barrister
Kate has practised as a barrister in Sydney since 1998. After completing a Masters of Laws in International Human Rights Law in London she returned to work as a solicitor at Allen Allen & Hemsley during which time she acted for asylum seekers detained at the Port Hedland Detention Centre.  In 1995 Kate joined the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and advised on a range of discrimination and human rights issues.  Kate was co-founder and President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and is the Australian alternate member to the International Human Rights Law and Practice Committee of the International Law Association.
Seminar summary

Claire Harris, Barrister
From January 2002 nto February 2003 Claire was the Legal Officer in the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia assigned principally to the case of Prosecutor v Milosevic and was responsible for legal submissions on substantive and procedural matters, analysis of the law and evidence relating to segments of the case, interviewing and proofing witnesses, drafting motions on interlocutory matters, appearing as junior counsel in hearings.
Seminar summary

Phoebe Knowles
Phoebe was Legal Assistant to a Defence Lead Counsel at the Special Court for Sierra Leone from June - December 2004.  In this position she was required to manage defence legal strategy, including investigations of prosecution allegations of war crimes.  Previously she was an intern in the Defence Office in Sierra Leone, responsible for liaison with certain detainees, and research of salient international law issues as well as procedural and evidential issues.  She is in a unique position to offer insights regarding the workings of this latest international criminal court.
Seminar summary

Shane Scanlon, International Rescus Committee, Geneva
Shane works for IRC's "surge project", a partnership with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees designed to strengthen the refugee law capabilities of UNHCR.  Prior to this, he was IRC's Project Coordinator for its relief and development program in eastern Sudan.  He has also volunteered for the Red Cross in Colombia and Geneva and began his career as a lawyer for Minter Ellison after graduating from Monash University.

Jim Backwell, Amnesty International
Currently Jim is the Community Campaigns Manager for Amnesty International Australia.  Prior to Amnesty he worked for 6 years in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement including a mission to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a Legal Coordinator.
Seminar summary

Kobi Leins
Kobi is an ex student who is doing human rights work but cannot give a paper in our Human Rights Career Series as she is overseas, however she has given us her essay 'Careers in Human Rights: A Brief Background to pursuing Human Rights Related Work'.


Richard Clarke, August 24 
"Careers in Human Rights: UN Human Rights Officer in Colombia"
Richard Clarke graduated from the Law Faculty at Monash University in the early 1990's and is now a Human Rights Officer for the Colombian Office of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  He has completed a Masters of Law at the Australian National University (Canberra) and works with numerous human rights non-governmental organisations in South America. 
Seminar summary