Posted by: lauraannwilson | January 9, 2015

Pre-departure blog

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9 January 2015

The count down is on! It is 7 days until I leave Melbourne, and 2 weeks until I commence my internship at UNHRC, Geneva.

I have a longstanding passion for the protection and promotion of human rights. I have a particular interest in the rights of people who come in contact with the criminal justice system. Given my professional background, I have a particular interest in the rights of persons who are in police and prison custody. I have a particular interest in the protection and promotion of the rights of Aboriginal and TI people in the criminal justice system.

In preparation for my internship, I have been very fortunate to meet with several well respected professionals who work in the Victorian criminal justice system, to discuss the key issues facing Aboriginal and TI people in the criminal justice system. These professionals came from diverse backgrounds: policing, legal, correctional services, and high level public servants.

The key theme to emerge from these discussions is that Aboriginal and TI people continue to be over represented in the Victorian criminal justice system. This issue is evident though out the system. Indeed, a recent Productivity Commission report, press releases from the Law Council, television and print/online media reports, and media releases from various national community legal services demonstrate that this issue is Australia wide.

These discussions have also highlighted that many people, particularly Aboriginal and TI people working in the criminal justice system, are doing some fantastic work. However, these professionals face many challenges including: resource constraints, lateral violence, and other issues that can adversely impact on the good work that professionals are doing to assist Aboriginal and TI people at all ends (police, courts, corrections) of the criminal justice system.

I hope that during my internship I am able to discuss these issues with my colleagues at UNHRC. I look forward to sharing my observations, insights and stories on this blog. Love to hear your thoughts, dear reader!


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