Faculty of Arts and Education

Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights



Peace Brokering in Thailand

July 2013

Peace Brokering in Thailand

Professor Damien Kingsbury was invited by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation to assist in brokering a peace agreement between three warring Naga factions, in Chaing Mai, Thailand in July. The Nagas are from eastern India and west Burma, and have long sought an independent Naga homeland. However, they had split into three groups around 30 years ago and had been at war with each other. Of a population of four million, about 200,000 people had been killed as a result of the conflict.

Damien drew on his experience in other conflict negotiation processes (and AID735 Conflict Resolution and Development!) to bring the parties to an agreement to end their conflict under the banner of the united Naga National Government (Provisional). He will return to again meet with the three factions to finalise details of the agreement. It is then hoped the NNG (P) will negotiate as one with the Government of India to bring an end to the regional conflict.

12 June 2013

Australians supporting a healthy Timor-Leste

The East Timor Hearts Fund, directed by Professor Damien Kingsbury, supports direct, practical medical aid for young East Timorese.

They are changing lives and saving lives by giving young people with life-threatening heart conditions the opportunity to come to Australia for surgery. These patients need relatively simple procedures to correct conditions that are often the legacy of childhood illnesses largely eradicated in the west. They cannot be treated in Timor-Leste due to a lack of specialist medical facilities.

Damien says, "My role with the Hearts Fund is based on having a background in Timor-Leste across a range of political and development issues. I am able to provide advice to the board on how to address some of the bureaucratic and procedural matters that bedevil most countries, particularly those that are still building the administrative basics."


11 April 2013

Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights milestones for February 2013

  • ARC DP: two applications submitted
  • Three edited books published: The Politics of Timor-Leste, Separatism (also special journal volume), Rethinking Development
  • In press: edited book: What do we want for our head of state?
  • Published: new edition International Development: Issues and Challenges
  • Numerous book chapters, journal articles published or in press
  • Successful conclusion of Timor-Leste election monitoring mission: more than 200 volunteers over three elections; report submitted to TL government, UN, etc
  • Agreement with Asia Foundation to establish permanent regional election monitoring project (Burma, Nepal planned, rejected by Malaysia)
  • Workshop undertaken: Separatist conflict resolution - book forthcoming
  • Conference planned: Burma‚Äôs transition
  • Joint partner: Australia-Myanmar Institute, seeking major AusAID grant.
  • Written and delivered: strategic policy on behalf of government of Timor-Leste.
  • Department of Defence: Formal advice on Indonesia policy
  • 2013 Defence White Paper: Submission requested and submitted
  • 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia-Timor-Leste relations: Submission requested and under preparation
  • AusAID funded Democratic Systems study tour completed, report submitted and accepted
  • CCDHR membership grown by three (Rebecca Fanany, Craig Snyder, Ken Boutin)
  • All members but one now research active

Recent event

'What do we want for our Head of State?'

4 February 2012

Featured publication - 2011

The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Time

 Professor Damien Kingsbury has contributed to this book along with Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer, Jared Genser, Desmong Tutu, Vaclav Havel, Gareth Evans, UNSG special adviser Edward Luck, former Canadian Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler.

In The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in Our Time, Jared Genser and Irwin Cotler provide a comprehensive overview on how this contemporary principle of international law has developed and analyze how best to apply it to current and future humanitarian crises. The "responsibility to protect" is a doctrine unanimously adopted by the UN World Summit in 2005, which says that all states have an obligation to protect their own citizens from mass atrocities, which includes genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Its adoption and application has generated a passionate debate in law schools, professional organizations, media and within the U.N. system.

Book Launch - The Cage

the cage

The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers

On Thursday 9th June, 2011, the Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Right at Deakin University, hosted the launch of Gordon Weiss’s recently published book The Cage: the fight for Sri Lanka and the last days of the Tamil Tigers, at Deakin’s Melbourne City Centre.

The highly successful launch was attended by roughly 80 people including a small number national political figures. All 50 copies of the book sold at the launch by The Paperback Bookshop went before the speeches had started.

Gordon Weiss, the former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka has written an excellent yet harrowing account of Sri Lanka's descent into civil war and in particular an account of the prosecution of that war by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who declared the ceasefire with the Tigers over in early 2008 and ended its military campaign to recapture territory occupied by the Tigers in May 2009. As Weiss describes, the Tiger territory shrank and shrank under the relentless military offensive, until it became known as the Cage with more than 300,000 civilians trapped and subjected to shelling and aerial bombardment, as the Tigers used them as a human shield with which to broker an international intervention that never happened. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed, although the exact number is not known because the international press as well as multilateral observers were kept from the zone.

The publication of the book coincides with the official UN report on the event, which now suggests that war crimes be investigated. A recent segment on ABC Television's 7.30 Report matches a longer documentary recently broadcast on UK's Channel 4.

Deakin University's Associate Professor Rohan Bastin, an anthropologist with over 25 years' experience of research in Sri Lanka introduced Gordon Weiss and praised the book's balanced and brave analysis, noting especially its timeliness at a moment when scholarly and other intellectual voices are being silenced in Sri Lanka and outside.

Associate Professor Rohan Bastin
Deakin University

Featured publication 2010

post disaster reconstruction book cover

Post-Disaster Reconstruction: Lessons from Aceh

Edited By Matthew Clarke, Ismet Fanany and Sue Kenny

'Post-Disaster Reconstruction : Lessons from Aceh is a landmark book in drawing together different experiences and insights of the post-conflict, post-tsunami reconstruction efforts in Aceh. It is the most comprehensive account of the voices and forces at work in the rebuilding of Aceh and shows in rich detail the ways in which the complexities and challenges have been addressed.'
Irwandi Yusuf, Governor of Aceh (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam) Indonesia


Publisher details

A Work in Progress - Human Rights

December 10, 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights at Deakin University, together with the Australian Centre for Human Rights Education at RMIT University, organised a Human Rights Symposium to celebrate the 60th anniversary. There was much to celebrate alongside recognition of considerable challenges still to be addressed to ensure that human rights are guaranteed for all human beings. Discussion focused primarily on legal aspects of the implementation of a human rights agenda. While legal perspectives regarding conventions and protocol are key components, understanding of human rights extends beyond legal analysis. Awareness of the political, social and ethical aspects is also integral to understanding human rights.

There were two key themes: 'social and political issues in the principles and practices of human rights' and ' roadblocks and how to get around them'.
Speakers included:
Dr Russell Solomon, RMIT
Professor Le Ann Basser, LaTrobe University
Deb Pietsch, Department of Human Services
Professor Stan van Hooft, Deakin University
Assoc Professor Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University
Professor Baogang He, Deakin University (Professor He's paper delivered on the day is reproduced on page 3 of our magazine 'Forum' March 2009 Edition 57)

Participants agreed that while a lot has been achieved, human rights are still very much a work in progress, for the aims of the Declaration remain a long way from being universally applied and much has still to be achieved.

Community Engagement

Associate Professor Damien Kingsbury, Arts and Education, Deakin University, has been elected for two years as Vice-President and Board Member of the Victorian Local Governance Association. The VLGA is a pro-democracy and good governance organisation representing local government in Victoria, and which engages in democratisation training in the region (notably Timor-Leste and the Philippines).

25 papers available on CD from: Questioning Cosmopolitanism

Papers from the Second biennial conference of the International Global Ethics Association - theme 'Questioning Cosmopolitanism' are now available. To order please contact the Centre ($15.00 CCDHR members/$17 non members). Abstracts are available online (164KB).


Successful research grants for 2010

Aus Aid

Developing New and Effective Ways to Evaluate Intervention in Maternal Health Services in Illiterate and Innumerate Communities in Southern Lao PDR: A case study

This AusAID funded research project reflects AusAID’s mission to improve gender equity in development outcomes and the OECD (2009) initiatives to develop new paradigms to assess progress in societies (beyond GDP and mortality rates). This project will bring together the Lao Ministry of Health, Lao researchers, village communities and service providers to generate effective tools to assess the impact on women’s physical, mental, social and economic well-being of intervention programs designed to improve maternal and child health in LaoPDR. The project is a case study investigating women who are neither literate nor numerate, and where conventional measures of quality of life are unable to tap the impact of aid policies, practices and programs on their lives.

Aus Aid

’Economic Shocks: Reducing Vulnerability and Increasing Resilience in the Pacific’.

This Australian Development Research Award investigates ways of reducing the effects of economic shocks in the Pacific
This project has three aims: (i) to identify the most vulnerable Pacific households to macroeconomic shocks; (ii) to examine the impact of the recent food, fuel and economic crises on Pacific households; and (iii) investigate how Pacific households have responded in order to cope with these crises and how effective these strategies have been. These issues are examined using quantitative and qualitative techniques for the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The project focuses on gender and youth impacts of macroeconomic shocks as well as on the importance of the traditional economy in providing resilience to them.



Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

20th September 2013