UNESCO, the Right to Self-Determination of Peoples and the Ukraine War

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Artwork: Michael Kirby and his Fur Nephew Roger, by Tim Wang (2021)

  • When30 March 2022

  • When4–5PM AEST

  • WhereAEB, GHD Auditorium
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The TC Beirne School of Law invites you to hear from international jurist, educator and former High Court Justice, Michael Kirby AC CMG, as he examines the development of the international law principle of "The Right to Self-Determination" and its relevance in the current conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

In 1984, when President of the NSW Court of Appeal and President of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Former High Court, Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG joined an expert group of UNESCO in Paris to help define the ambit and content of the People’s Right to Self-Determination in International Law. That right is implied by the UN Charter and appears in the common first article of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

He later became rapporteur and then chairman of the group whose work was reported to the General Conference of UNESCO. That work has been influential in the development of “The Right to Self-Determination”. This address will touch on the work of the expert group, its recommendations, and the operations of the UN Charter to the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Meet the speaker – The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

portrait of Michael KirbyMichael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge. He served as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1975-83); Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84); Judge of the Federal Court of Australia (1983-4); President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96); President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-96) and Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996-2009).

He has undertaken many international activities for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the OECD and the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  He has also worked in civil society, being elected President of the International Commission of Jurists (1995-8).  His recent international activities have included member of the Eminent Persons Group on the Future of the Commonwealth of Nations (2010-11); Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12); Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea) (2013-14); and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Healthcare (2015-16).  He is also heavily engaged in international arbitrations; domestic mediations; and teaching law.  He is Honorary Professor at 12 Australian and overseas universities.

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