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School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Charles Darwin University
Darwin NT 0909
T: +61 8 8946-6482
F: +61 8 8946-6345
Building Blue 2.1.54-60

School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems

11th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture

The Challenge of Human Rights for Indigenous People

Megan Davis, Director of the Indigenous Law Centre and Senior Lecturer at University of New South Wales, will present The Challenges of Human Rights for Indigenous people.

In the absence of entrenched rights in the Constitution and the state's failure to adequately implement and honour international human rights obligations, the vexing question for many Indigenous peoples is: Are rights relevant to our daily lives?

This lecture maps the history of Indigenous engagement with the United Nations and the international human rights system. In doing so it reflects on recent achievements such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However this lecture raises the challenges of the international human rights system for Indigenous peoples and limitations of the Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination as recognised in international law. This lecture advocates a transformation in the way Indigenous people think and speak about human rights.

Megan Davis

Megan Davis is Director of the Indigenous Law Centre and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. Megan also serves as a Commissioner on the NSW Land and Environment Court under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

This year Megan Davis was elected as an independent expert of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues based in New York. She is the first Indigenous Australian and first Aboriginal Australian woman to be elected by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to a UN body. Her three year term begins in 2011.

Megan’s academic scholarship has focused on Indigenous legal issues in constitutional law and Indigenous rights in international law. Megan has been an international human rights lawyer for over 10 years and this has included the drafting of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Megan is the Australian member of the International Law Association’s Indigenous Rights Committee writing an expert commentary on the Declaration. She is also a former United Nations Indigenous Fellow of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Megan has recently completed a doctoral thesis at the Australian National University on the right to self-determination and Aboriginal women. This year Megan was also awarded the 2010 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year. Megan is an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from South East Queensland.