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Kenneth Roth - Addressing The Populist Challenge to Human Rights

Human Rights Watch Australia
Event organized by Human Rights Watch Australia

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The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and Human Rights Watch present:

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch

In conversation with Prof. Sarah Joseph, director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

The surge of authoritarian populists appears less inevitable than it did a year ago. Then, there seemed no stopping a series of politicians around the globe who claimed to speak for “the people” but built followings by demonizing unpopular minorities, attacking human rights principles, and fueling distrust of democratic institutions. Today, a popular reaction in a broad range of countries, bolstered in some cases by political leaders with the courage to stand up for human rights, has left the fate of many of these populist agendas more uncertain. Where the pushback is strong, populist advances have been limited. But where capitulation meets their message of hate and exclusion, the populists flourish.

Join Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, as he discusses standing up for human rights in the age of populist leaders. He will consider human rights under the Trump presidency, the ongoing violations of the laws of war in Syria and Yemen, and the global challenge of refugees and mass displacement, as well as Human Rights Watch’s work in Australia.

Kenneth Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world's leading international human rights organizations, which operates in more than 90 countries. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch in 1987, Roth served as a federal prosecutor in New York and for the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington, DC. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth has conducted numerous human rights investigations and missions around the world. He has written extensively on a wide range of human rights abuses, devoting special attention to issues of international justice, counterterrorism, the foreign policies of the major powers, and the work of the United Nations.

Sarah Joseph is a Professor of Human Rights Law and the Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University. Her teaching and research interests are international human rights law and constitutional law. She has written on numerous human rights topics, including on business and human rights, terrorism and human rights, and the media (including social media) and human rights. Her books cover issues such as global trade and human rights, international human rights litigation, and torture.