UN Indigenous expert to present Lingiari Memorial Lecture 

Megan Davis will present the 11th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture.

One of Australia’s leading Indigenous experts and independent expert of the United Nations, Megan Davis will present the 11th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture.

Ms Davis will present the free lecture entitled The Challenges of Human Rights for Indigenous People, on Thursday, 19 August in commemoration of the Wave Hill Walk Off by the Gurindji people led by respected elder Vincent Lingiari. The protest eventually led to the passing of the Commonwealth Land Rights Act (Northern Territory) in 1976.

Ms Davis, an Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman from south-east Queensland, is Director of the Indigenous Law Centre and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. She is the first Indigenous Australian to be elected by the UN Economic and Social Council to a UN body. Her three-year term will begin in 2011.

Ms Davis said she believed that in the absence of entrenched rights in the Constitution and the state’s failure to adequately implement and honour international human rights obligations, the real question for many Indigenous peoples was: Are rights relevant to our daily lives?

Ms Davis’ lecture will map the history of Indigenous engagement with the United Nations and the international human rights system.

Her presentation will also raise the challenges of the international human rights system for Indigenous peoples and limitations of the Indigenous people’s right to self-determination as recognised in international law.

CDU Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership Professor Steve Larkin said it was a great honour for the institution to host the Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture series.

“The Wave Hill Walk Off was a defining moment in Australian history. It began as a protest for equal pay and conditions that soon spread to include the economic aspirations of Indigenous people and the more fundament issue of access to their own traditional lands,” Professor Larkin said.

The 11th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture will be held at CDU Casuarina campus in the Mal Nairn Lecture Theatre at 7pm on Thursday, August 19.