Public lecture: “Lives worth living”: Social memory, social action, and contemporary disability advocacy

The designation of ‘life unworthy of life’ was used to justify the deaths and persecution of hundreds of thousands of people with disability under National Socialism. The Nazi Government was not alone in endorsing these values, with many other nations, including Australia, also sanctioning a variety of eugenic practices, and the segregation of people with disability from the community a dominant feature of government policy.The disability movement has made significant progress in transforming social values and attitudes since this dark period of history. However, marginalisation of people with disability continues and there are ongoing campaigns for equal rights and recognition within the Australian disability sector.

This event, hosted by the Sydney Jewish Museum and Sydney Health Ethics (USYD), moves from memorial and remembrance to a focus on social action. Academic and community speakers will address the question of how we can all work towards ensuring ‘a life worth living’ for every member of society, discussing the importance of human rights-informed policy and legislation, the importance of advocacy, and the importance of embracing diversity at the community level.

Speakers
• Ms Nastasia Campanella, journalist and broadcaster, ABC Triple J
• Dr Laura Davy (Chair)
• Professor Rosemary Kayess, Director, Disability Innovation Institute, UNSW Sydney
• Ms Ayah Wehbe

Thursday 22nd March, 6.00pm
Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst

Register for this free event here.

Public Lecture: LGBTI Human Rights: From pink triangles to social acceptance? Reflections on human rights and the journey still to come

Presented by ACON and Sydney Health Ethics, this public lecture will explore the intersections of human rights and LGBTI people with diverse sexualities, genders and sex characteristics.

Speakers will provide contemporary and historical examples of the ways that sexual and gender minorities have experienced human rights challenges and reflect on the treatment of LGBTI people through legal and social frameworks.

Tuesday March 13
6:30pm – 8pm
Eternity Playhouse
39 Burton St
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010

Find more information and register for the event here.

Invitation: Working the past: Aboriginal Australia and psychiatry

A Sydney Ideas forum at the University of Sydney, Wednesday 7 March 2018

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have historically been subject to much more misdiagnosis, mistreatment, incarceration and coercion than other Australians in the hands of psychiatric institutions, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. The ramifications of psychiatry’s sometimes unwitting, indifferent or knowing complicity in past harmful practices and beliefs have been far-reaching. They extend from the health and well-being of the individual patient, to human rights and social justice concerns that prevail in contemporary Australian society.
How do we come to grips with the past, and how do we do so in just ways? What are the responsibilities of psychiatry to ensure a contribution to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional health and well-being? What can apology and other forms of recognition achieve? What can we learn from other projects of apology and recognition? These questions will be the basis of our discussion by a panel of distinguished speakers, including Professor Steven Larkin, Professor Alan Rosen, Professor Frank Schneider, Ms Joanne Selfe, and Dr Robyn Shields.

Wednesday 7 March
6 – 7.30pm
Law School Foyer
Level 2 Sydney Law School
Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney, Camperdown 2006

Find more information and register for the event here. Note the event is free and open to all, but online registration is essential.

We must follow California’s example and repeal archaic HIV laws

The BMJ Opinion, 15 December 2017
Author: Sofia Gruskin
“Recently, my home state of California made national headlines when it repealed an HIV criminalisation law and reduced penalties for exposing other people to the virus. It was a landmark decision grounded in science and human rights that will go into effect next month.”
Find article here.

Transgender health: a call to make the “invisible”, visible

MJA Insight, 27 November 2017
Author: Jason Ong
“DESPITE recent media attention thrusting transgender celebrities into the spotlight, the transgender population largely remains “invisible”. This is reflected in how researchers have struggled to accurately define the transgender population, and how legal systems have not protected their human rights. The danger of being “invisible” is that you can be ignored or not acknowledged and, at the cruel extreme, not “exist” in the eyes of society, which has led to unacceptable health disparities.”
Find article here.

An open letter to the Australian Parliament regarding the health of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island

MJA Insight, 27 November 2017
Author: David Watters et al.
“We are senior Australian clinicians who write in our individual capacity to express our concerns about the ongoing health and well-being of the former detainees still based on Manus Island and now in alternative accommodation. They, like all human beings, have a universal right – enshrined in the United Nations charter – to health and well-being. Their political and citizenship status should not affect this right. All politicians regardless of their political party should respect the human right to health and themselves be strong advocates of “health for all” without discrimination.”
Find letter here.

Upcoming panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’

The Sydney Jewish Museum together with Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney invite you to a panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’.

“Can empathy be taught? Is empathy a solution to human rights abuses? In a world where ambiguity and misinformation is used to shape public debate, this panel will examine how and why empathy might be important. Please come and join the discussion at this thought-provoking event.”

Panel:
Hagar Cohen: award-winning ABC journalist with the ‘Background Briefing’ program.
Father Bob Maguire: an Australian Roman Catholic Priest, community worker and media personality. Bob is actively engaged in Fr Bob Maguire Foundation that serves more than 45,000 hot meals and 8,000 hampers a year.
Dr Gary Galambos: a psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital, with a special interest in anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders, bipolar, depression and dysthymic disorder. Gary is also a Senior Lecturer at UNSW.
Moderator: Michael Robertson, clinical associate professor, Sydney Health Ethics, The University of Sydney.

When: Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 10:30am
Where: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW

Click here for more information.

Peng v NSW Health Pathology [2017] NSWCATAD 288

Decision date: 28 September 2017
“HUMAN RIGHTS – disability discrimination in employment – where President of the Anti-Discrimination Board has declined a complaint of disability discrimination in employment as lacking in substance – where employer relies on unjustifiable hardship exception – whether it is fair and just for leave to be given for complaint to proceed.”
Find decision here.

Upcoming panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’

The Sydney Jewish Museum together with Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney invite you to a panel discussion, ‘Beyond Empathy: Responsibility in a post-truth world’.

“Can empathy be taught? Is empathy a solution to human rights abuses? In a world where ambiguity and misinformation is used to shape public debate, this panel will examine how and why empathy might be important. Please come and join the discussion at this thought-provoking event.”

Panel:
Hagar Cohen: award-winning ABC journalist with the ‘Background Briefing’ program.
Father Bob Maguire: an Australian Roman Catholic Priest, community worker and media personality. Bob is actively engaged in Fr Bob Maguire Foundation that serves more than 45,000 hot meals and 8,000 hampers a year.
Dr Gary Galambos: a psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital, with a special interest in anxiety, mood and psychotic disorders, bipolar, depression and dysthymic disorder. Gary is also a Senior Lecturer at UNSW.
Moderator: Michael Robertson, clinical associate professor, Sydney Health Ethics, The University of Sydney.

When: Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 10:30am
Where: Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW

Click here for more information.

Mental health and human rights in Russia—a flawed relationship

The Lancet, 390 (10102), p1613–1615, September 2017
Author: Robert van Voren
“When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, new independent psychiatric associations were established in many of the former Soviet republics, and groups of reform-minded psychiatrists initiated projects to discard the old Soviet psychiatric system, a system notorious for its political abuse of psychiatry and characterised by an almost exclusively biological orientation and institutional form of care. Russia was no exception and even boasted some of the most prominent mental health reformers, such as psychiatrist Yuri Nuller in St Petersburg and the Moscow-based lawyer Svetlana Polubinskaya, an associate of the Institute of State and Law who formulated the Soviet Union’s last law on psychiatric help and Russia’s first law on psychiatric care, which was adopted in 1992.”
Find article here.