Honorary doctorate for human rights champion Gillian Triggs

26 September 2014

A Doctor of Laws honoris causa was granted to Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs today, in recognition of her lifelong contribution to the protection of human rights and the development of international law as an academic, a barrister, law dean and President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The award was granted in a morning graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Arts, where Professor Triggs also presented an occasional address to the graduating cohort.

“Professor Triggs is an outstanding rolemodel for our graduates through her work across the academe, the practicing profession and government. Her service to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms is exemplary,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton.

Graduating in law from the University of Melbourne in 1968, Professor Triggs also gained a PhD in 1982. She combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice, and has worked with governments and international organisations on human rights law as well as World Trade Organisation law, disputed continental shelf and other territorial claims.

In her wide-ranging career Professor Triggs has been a consultant on international law to law firms; a Board Member of the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) and the Australian representative on the Council of Jurists for the Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institutions.

She served as Chair of the Board of the Australian International Health Institute and a member of the Attorney General’s International Legal Service Advisory Council. She has also been honoured by election as a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

In her current role as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Triggs has focused on the implementation in Australian law of the human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, and has worked with nations in the Asia-Pacific region on practical approaches to implementing human rights.

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