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International law expert to lead ACT Human Rights Commission

An expert adviser on international refugee law and human rights has been appointed president and commissioner of the ACT Human Rights Commission.

user iconNaomi Neilson 22 September 2023 Big Law
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From mid-October, the current dean of the University of Auckland Law School, Professor Penelope Mathew, will return to Canberra to succeed commissioner and president Dr Helen Watchirs.

Professor Mathew, who has extensive experience across human rights jurisdictions and has advised the United Nations, has worked across a number of universities, including the Australian National University, University of Melbourne and Michigan Law School.


She also worked as a consultant to the Australian Human Rights Commission between 2006 and 2008 to conduct an audit of the territory’s remand centres and was also frequently called upon to advise on human rights issues in legislative proposals.

The ACT Bar Association congratulated Professor Mathew on the appointment – the second commissioner in the commission’s history – and thanked Dr Watchirs for her “service and leadership”.

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