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Free Public Lecture on Contemporary Challenges to Human Rights and Democracy in the Asia Pacific Reg


7 September 2010

Suraya Pakzad and Deborah Stothard
Suraya Pakzad and Deborah Stothard

The Faculty warmly invites you to a special lecture on Democracy in Burma and Women's Rights in Afghanistan which will be held from 12-2pm on Tuesday 7 September in the Old Teachers' College Assembly Hall.

While human rights and democracy are today's dominant global discourses, their realisation on the ground continues to face enormous challenges. In much of the world, standing up for rights is still not an established norm and citizen participation is far from sight.

The Faculty of Arts present two insightful perspectives from the field on these ongoing and critical struggles in the Asia Pacific region in this lecture which will feature contemporary and critical challenges to the human rights in Afghanistan and to democratisation in Burma.

The Democracy Paradox in Burma

As Coordinator of the Alternative Asean Network on Burma, ALTSEAN - (Thailand) Deborah Stothard is involved in the regional campaign on Burma and lobbies the UN and governments globally.

Now is a critical time for Burma with elections due in November this year. The last time elections were held in Burma was in 1990 when Aung San Suu Kyi¹s National League for Democracy won by a landslide. Instead of being allowed to form government, Aung San Suu Kyi and Members of Parliament were arrested as political prisoners. With over 2,200 political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, there is no freedom of association and speech and the groundrules that underpin the election are fundamentally undemocratic.

In this lecture Deborah talks to us through the Democracy Paradox, where democracy activists are opposing the elections scheduled for 7 November 2010.

Women Rights in Afghanistan

Listed as one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential persons for 2009, internationally acknowledged and inspirational women's rights advocate, Suraya Pakzad, is a woman with an incredible story to tell. As a special guest of the Faculty of Arts' Human Rights and Democratisation Initiative, Ms Pakzad will convey the experiences of her remarkable life journey.

Twelve years on, and Suraya Pakzad is still overcoming death threats and adversity to advance women's education and human rights in Afghanistan through essential education, job training and legal and social aid. Suraya Pakzad's talk will consider the ongoing human rights atrocities that still occur against Afghani women despite the fall of the Taliban nine years ago, and the complications involved in carrying out her essential work in the context of the growing insurgency in Afghanistan.

Her inspirational visit to the University of Sydney is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Amnesty International and The Voice of Women Organisation (VWO).

Event details

Date: Tuesday 7 September, 2010

Time: 12-2pm

Venue: Old Teachers' College Assembly Hall

Registrations are not required for this event