The ‘Torres Strait 8’ versus Australia: Law Professor delivers presentation at Human Rights Day

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Purai member and University of Newcastle’s Law School Professor, Amy Maguire, spoke about a world-first claim by Indigenous people which connects climate change impacts to human rights on 2020 Human Rights Day.

Head and shoulders photograph of a woman with long, drak hair dressed in a black dress smiling
Associate Professor Amy Maguire

Publicly available and suitable for high school students and staff, Professor Maguire's 30 minute presentation outlines how a group of Torres Strait Islander people lodged a complaint against the Australian government with the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

The claimants are seeking protection for their right to life, right to culture and right to be free from arbitrary interference with privacy, family and home.

They argue that Australia must do more to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and ensure the coastal defence of the vulnerable islands of the Torres Strait.

Their claim is unique in that it is the first action against a country by inhabitants of low-lying islands within that country’s territory.

Professor Maguire has received Newcastle University’s 2015 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning through innovative educational practices which engage students in real-world human rights practice.

Organised by the NSW’s Department of Education Reconciliation Action Plan team, Professor Maguire’s presentation was one of many webinar events celebrating Human Rights Day on 10 December, 2020.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.