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Secrecy somewhere else: Accountability for the ‘externalised’ treatment of refugees

Virtual, 17 November 2022, 6.30-7.30pm AEDT

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Externalisation is taking various forms around the world. Geopolitics, private partnerships and funding arrangements are obscuring transparency. At sea, too, secrecy around interceptions and interdiction undermines principles of legitimacy. How can we safeguard the system of shared responsibility for protecting refugees and individual human rights?


Behrouz Boochani

Author, journalist, scholar and filmmaker


Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. He was a writer and editor for the Kurdish language magazine Werya in Iran. He is a Visiting Professor, Birkbeck Law School; Associate Professor in Social Sciences at UNSW; non-resident Visiting Scholar at the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC), University of Sydney; Honorary Member of PEN International; and winner of an Amnesty International Australia 2017 Media Award, the Diaspora Symposium Social Justice Award, the Liberty Victoria 2018 Empty Chair Award, and the Anna Politkovskaya award for journalism. He publishes regularly with The Guardian, and his writing also features in The Saturday Paper, Huffington Post, New Matilda, The Financial Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time; and collaborator on Nazanin Sahamizadeh’s play Manus. His book, No Friend But The Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison (Pan Macmillan, 2019) won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature in addition to the Nonfiction category. He has also won the Special Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Australian Book Industry Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year, and the National Biography Prize.

Itamar Mann

Associate Professor, University of Haifa


Itamar Mann is an Associate Professor at the University of Haifa, Faculty of Law. His research interests include international law, human rights, refugee law and refugee studies, political theory, and legal history. His book, Humanity at Sea: Maritime Migration and the Foundations of International Law, came out with Cambridge University Press in 2016. Alongside his scholarship, he is engaged as a human rights lawyer, and is the president of Border Forensics.

Anna Talbot

Strategic Litigation Network Coordinator, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

@annactalbot @KaldorCentre

Anna Talbot is Strategic Litigation Network Coordinator and a PhD candidate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She has substantial experience working with refugees and asylum seekers as a legal practitioner. She previously led litigation to secure urgent medical care for children and adults detained in Nauru and Papua New Guinea under Australia’s offshore processing policy in 2018-19. She has also acted in complex litigation seeking compensation for refugees who have suffered injuries while detained offshore. In relation to offshore detention, she has prepared a complaint for the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and a report on the Commonwealth’s work health and safety obligations, and has provided evidence before Parliamentary Committees. Her diverse legal career has included interviewing Kenyan survivors of torture and trauma in the Mau Mau case (a case against the British government for mistreatment during the Kenyan independence movement in the 1950s and 1960s) and leading Amnesty International’s engagement with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expert mechanisms. 

Elahe Zivardar

Director & Executive Producer of “Searching for Aramsayesh Gah”


Elahe Zivardar, aka Ellie Shakiba, is an Iranian artist, architect, journalist and documentary filmmaker, who was imprisoned by the Australian Government on the remote island Nauru from 2013 to 2019 for attempting to seek asylum in Australia. She was granted refugee status by the USA in 2019, where currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. During her detention in Nauru, Elahe was highly active in using photography and video to document the horrific mistreatment and hazardous conditions endured by the asylum seekers imprisoned there, as well as the negative  impact of this policy on Nauruan society. Since gaining her freedom, Elahe has continued to advocate for the freedom of the remaining detainees held in Nauru, and against the adoption of similar refugee detention policies by both the UK, EU and USA. Elahe continues to work to raise awareness of refugee rights issues, including directing and producing her documentary film ‘Searching for Aramsayesh Gah’, her ‘Border-Industrial Complex’ series of paintings, academic articles, journalism and active participation in refugee rights campaigns.

Chair: Riona Moodley

Affiliate, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

@RionaMoodley @KaldorCentre

Riona Moodley is an Australian lawyer and Lecturer at the Faculty of Law & Justice, UNSW Sydney. Prior to joining UNSW as a lecturer, Riona practiced as a senior solicitor at the Refugee Advice & Casework Service. Riona is a PhD Candidate and Affiliate of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, where her current doctoral research is focussed on assessing the legal feasibility of ‘external processing’ in the European Union. She is also an associate tutor and affiliate at the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London.

Image credit: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

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