“Human rights abuse” – the focus of the School of Law Speakers’ Forum

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 25-9-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



The School of Law at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus hosted their Speakers’ Forum on 22 September and was privileged to have two prominent international guests talking about human rights issues.

Ms Lulu Mirelle Mitshbu, Program Coordinator for Caritas (a Catholic agency for overseas development) in Africa, spoke to University staff and students about her personal experiences living within, and escaping from the terror regime of the Democratic Republic of Congo during its ongoing civil war. This is a place where life expectancy is 47 years, almost half our own.

Ms Mitshbu has witnessed the after effects of the systematic use of rape and torture during the wars of the Congo – recording, on average, 2,000 women raped each month. She also spoke of Caritas Australia’s work in assisting the victims and raising awareness about the ongoing crisis. See www.caritas.org.au

The second well respected guest speaker was Ms Kate Eastman, Co-founder and President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and member of the International Human Rights Law and Practice Committee.

Ms Eastman, talked about the use of rape and violence against women as a tactic of war in countries such as Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Bosnia.

She detailed how International Law, through the United Nations and NGOs, is slowly but surely establishing International Criminal Courts. These are prosecuting for international crimes concerning women; protecting victims in criminal proceedings and providing for reparations and remedies for victims. See www.stoprapenow.org

Francisco Esparraga, Senior Lecturer at the University’s School of Law said, “International Law is starting to stand up for the rights of the victims of these horrific crimes.”

He asked those present to spread the word on the way to assist in the fight against torture and rape.

Media contact:

Rebecca Palser 02 8204 4409