Event: 2021 Asia & Oceania Business & Human Rights Doctoral Symposium. February 3,4,9, 2021

Event: 2021 Asia & Oceania Business & Human Rights Doctoral Symposium. February 3,4,9, 2021

Informing the business and human agenda of the next decade: 3, 4, 9th February 2021, 2 - 6pm AEST, Online

Hosted by the RMIT Business and Human Rights Centre and the Public Law and Human Rights Forum of City University Hong Kong, this online symposium will strengthen the next generation of scholars. It will place them in collaboration with their peers as they develop innovative ideas and alternative approaches to ways that business can embed human rights in their practice and supply chain governance, and the law can better promote respect for human rights by business. 

The symposium will offer a forum for business and human rights doctoral scholars to engage in legal, policy and practice debates that have currency in the region, while offering unparalleled opportunities to strengthen participants’ writing and research.

For more information contact:
Managing Director, BHRIGHT daisy.gardener@rmit.edu.au   
Download the Symposium flyer here

This conference is free, proudly supported by the Public Law and Human Rights Forum, City University Hong Kong, RMIT University Social Change and Business Innovation ECPs, and University of Western Australia Modern Slavery Research Cluster.


Usha Ramanathan works on the jurisprudence of law, poverty and rights. She researches, writes and speaks on issues that include the nature of law, Bhopal Gas Disaster, mass displacement, eminent domain, manual scavening, civil liberties including the death penalty, beggary, criminal law, custodial institutions, the environment, judicial process. She has been tracking, and engaging with, the Indian national ID project and has written, and debated extensively, on the subject. She has been writing and debating issues of technology and the human conditions of freedom and liberty over the years. Her work draws heavily upon non-governmental experience in its encounters with the state, a 6-year stint with a law journal (Supreme Court Cases) as reporter from the Supreme Court, and engaging with matters of public policy. She was awarded Access Now's Human Rights Heroes Award in 2019.

Dr Ruth Saovana-Spriggs is a linguist and socio-political scientist based in Bougainville with more than 20 years of working in the linguistics department as tutor, researcher, and lecturer at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (now the School of Culture, History and Language) at the Australian National University, and at the Kiel University’s linguistics department in Germany.

She established the Bougainville People’s Research Institute and works in partnership with local researchers in expanding the work of the Bougainville National Heritage Foundation based in Arawa, Central Bougainville.

Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, and the current Vice Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.  Prof Deva’s primary research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development.  He has published extensively in these areas, and has advised various UN bodies, governments, multinational corporations and civil society organisations on matters related to business and human rights.  He is one of the founding Editors-in-Chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal, and sits on the Editorial/Advisory Board of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, the Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, the Indian Law Review, and the Australian Journal of Human Rights.

Ms. Poonsap Tulaphan is the Manager of the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion (HomeNet Thailand), achieving legislative protections for informal workers and fostering a thriving worker movement. HomeNet Thailand was founded in 1999 to support precarious and vulnerable home-based workers across Thailand. Ms Tulaphan is also Coordinator of ASEC Thailand, and the Thai Representative to the ASEC/RIPESS Asia Governing Board) represents ASEC/RIPESS Asia in the Program Committee. HomeNet South-East Asia is the sub-regional network of national (country) networks of home-based workers, including HomeNet Thailand.

Kalpona Akter is the founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS). She campaigns for worker safety, fair wages and the right to join and organize in labour unions. She has been a key player in urging Western brands to sign on to the Bangladesh Safety Accord following the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, and her US Congress testimony helped frame legislation against slave-labour conditions for clothing. She began working at garment factories in her native Bangladesh aged 12, and since 2000 has devoted herself to trade unions and activism for textile and garment workers in the country. Akter has been instrumental in engaging stakeholders, from UN Agencies to fast-fashion brands like Inditex and H&M, to demand respect for garment workers. She was awarded Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges award for Extraordinary Activism in 2016.

Andy Hall is a British human rights defender and a migrant worker rights specialist. During his 12 years in Thailand, Andy became an internationally recognised human rights defender, migrant worker rights specialist and campaigner working on migrant worker rights, empowerment and modern day slavery issues in global supply chains, particularly with impoverished and exploited migrant workers from Cambodia and Myanmar. In addition to his key role since 2009 as an international affairs advisor to the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) in Thailand, Andy also founded the Human Rights and Development Foundation's (HRDF) Migrant Justice Programme in 2007, was a foreign expert in migration at the Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR) at Mahidol University from 2011 to 2013 and during 2013 was an advisor on migration policy development to the Myanmar government under an EU funded migration project.

James Fitzgerald is Strategy Lead with the The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility. James is a lawyer, negotiator and strategist with more than 28 years’ experience. James has been closely involved in the development of native title law and land use policy, and has worked with indigenous peoples, governments and industry peak bodies in state and Commonwealth land use policy and legislation development. James is currently a director of the Diplomacy Training Program Ltd, a human rights training organisation, and is adjunct associate professor at the Law School of the University of NSW.

Fiona is a passionate educator and researcher, frequently bringing research findings to wider audiences in publications such as the Conversation.  She graduated from the Queen's University of Belfast with a Bachelors degree in Law and French, with honours. She also has a Masters degree in Human Rights and a PhD on the role of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in monitoring international human rights law. Fiona initially worked across Europe and Australia in the private sector as a management consultant, before moving to semi-state and not-for-profit research and policy roles, which she did for over ten years in both Australia and Ireland. She has predominantly worked in the areas of disability and racial equality. During this time she held a number of positions, including membership of Government steering and advisory groups. Fiona previously taught on the Masters programme at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University. She took up a lecturing position at UWA in 2016.

Justine Nolan is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at UNSW Sydney. Justine's research focuses on the intersection of business and human rights, in particular, supply chain responsibility for human rights and modern slavery. Her 2019 co-authored book Addressing Modern Slavery examines how consumers, business and government are both part of the problem and the solution in curbing modern slavery in global supply chains. Other recent books include The International Law of Human Rights (OUP, 2017) and Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice (Routledge, 2016). She teaches international human rights law and related courses on global law, development, globalisation and business and human rights.

Kate Macdonald is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Faculty Member at the University of Melbourne, School of Social and Political Sciences. Kate’s research focuses on transnational governance and accountability systems, especially in relation to transnational business regulation, and accountability in the international development sector. She has conducted highly influential research and consultancy work for a range of Australian and international organisations including the Forest Stewardship Council, Amnesty International, ActionAid Australia, Oxfam Australia and the UK’s Corporate Responsibility Coalition, and she is currently on the advisory board of the Jubilee Australia Research Foundation.

Professor Srinivasan is a Professor in the Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management Area at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. Currently, she is the Chairperson of Alumni Relations. She has designed and delivered sessions on leadership development and career management on Executive Education programmes. She was an Indian Council for Cultural Relations Chair Professor for Corporate responsibility at the HHL Graduate School of Management Leipzig, Germany for the period 2012-13 on deputation. She was also a British Council Visiting Scholar at the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at the Nottingham University Business School. She has consulted extensively for both Indian and multinational companies in the field of leadership development. She has also designed and delivered “Tanmatra: Women in Leadership” – a leadership development programme exclusively for senior women leaders in business in collaboration with Catalyst India and IBM.

Shelley Marshall is the Director of the Business and Human Rights Centre at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow.  She has worked in corporate accountability and business and human rights for 25 years, with a focus on the labour condition of vulnerable workers and modern slavery. Shelley left legal practice in 2001 to join the team setting up Ethical Clothing Australia. She has undertaken numerous research consultancies for business and inter-governmental agencies and her research has informed labour law reform in several countries and the policies of the International Labour Organisation. Shelley was a co-founder of the Australian Corporate Accountability Network, which has over 100 civil society and academic members from across Australia, and is on its Steering Committee.

Alan Lowe is an internationally respected scholar in the field of accounting who addresses the accountability of business from a number of angles. He is the editor of the British Accounting Review (BAR), a highly prestigious position within the British Accounting academy. Alan’s career has had a strong focus on accounting, information systems and management processes, especially in the context of performance measurement and control. Alan’s work has tended to be critical of the impact on subordinate staff of control practices. Alan has a strong track record in interdisciplinary work and in post structuralist theories, especially concerned with the increasing impact of technology on work practices and social groups.

Kate Grosser is a Senior Lecturer in International Business, RMIT School of Management, College of Business and the lead on gender for the RMIT Business and Human Rights Centre. Kate is highly engaged with CSR practice as well as research. She served on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Gender Working Group (2010), and as advisor on ‘integrating a gender perspective’ to the UN Special Representative on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (2009). Kate was co-founder of the international multi-stakeholder Gender, Business and Human Rights Ad Hoc Reference Group set up to provide advice to the UN Working Group implementing the UN Business and Human Rights Guidelines (2011).

Dr Jonathan Kolieb leads the RMIT Business and Human Rights Centre’s work on conflict and peace. Jonathan is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University. In relation to business and human rights, Jonathan’s research looks at responsible business in conflict affected areas, business and peace building and children's rights. Jonathan has worked with a range of governmental and non-governmental organisations in the fields of human rights and international affairs - in Australia, the US and the Middle East. These roles include: Consultant for the United Nation’s Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (New York); Congressional Liaison at the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC; Special Assistant to Ambassador Morton Abramowitz at The Century Foundation (Washington DC); Project Director, Israeli-Palestinian Human Rights Center (Jerusalem).

Joanna is a Senior Lecturer in the Monash University Law Faculty and an academic member of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. Her research interests lie at the intersection of corporate accountability, international criminal law, human rights, transitional justice and tort law. Emerging areas of interest are animal law and climate change.  Much of Joanna's work to date has examined the application of international criminal law to corporations. She has published articles and book chapters on this and related subjects, including in the Journal of International Criminal Justice. She has held visiting fellowships at Columbia University and the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. Joanna worked previously with the South Australian Crown Solicitor's Office, and in both private and community legal practice.

Fiona Haines PhD, BA (Hons) is Professor of Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at the Regulatory Institutions Network at ANU. Fiona is an internationally renowned expert in the area of regulation and compliance with published work in the area ranging from occupational health & safety and financial fraud to the impact of criminalisation of cartel conduct and most recently the challenges for regulation in the transformation of the National Electricity Market with the introduction of household solar PV. She also examines the capacity of new governance to resolve issues of human rights violations associated with the activities of multinational corporations.

Sang Soo LEE is Professor in Sogang University School of Law, Seoul, Korea, delivering lectures on ‘Business and Human Right and Law’ in addition to legal ethics and sociology of law. He was Director of Sogang Institute for Legal Studies (2017-2019) and President of Korean Society for Sociology of Law (2017-2019). He graduated from Seoul National University and received a PhD degree thereof. He published more than 10 articles on BHR, which include ones on UNGP, OECD Guidelines for MNE, supply chain issues, corporate HRs legal accountability, case studies etc, as well as several government research projects. He translated Just Business (John Ruggie, 2013) into Korean. He closely collaborates with the Korean government and NGOs on BHR issues. He plays various advisory roles in Korea Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court Sentencing Committee, mostly as a BHR specialist.

Jolyon Ford is an international expert in business and human rights, and author of Regulating Business for Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2015); 'Business and Human Rights: bridging the governance gap' (Chatham House, London, 2015); and 'Business and Human Rights: emerging challenges to consensus and coherence' (Chatham House, London, 2015).  He is Professor and Associate Dean (International) of the Australian National University College of Law. He was previously Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, London (Chatham House) and a Research Associate of the Global Economic Governance programme at the University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government. Professor Ford has worked in the federal public service, an intergovernmental organisation, academia, civil society, the private sector and freelance consulting.

28 October 2020


28 October 2020


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.