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On the 26 November 2019, the Kaldor Centre hosted its sixth annual conference, entitled 'Good decisions: Achieving fairness in refugee law, policy and practice'. This panel discussion focused on deciding refugee claims. It explored how procedures and processes affect the way decisions are made, and the impacts they have on the lives of those affected by them. It was chaired by Om Dhungel, consultant, trainer and a former refugee from Bhutan. 

The Kaldor Centre Annual Conference brought together scholars, decision-makers, legal practitioners, civil society representatives and people with lived experience of seeking asylum together to explore aspects of refugee decision-making from individual cases through to wider public policy. It asked how we can ensure that refugee decision-making is fair, transparent and protection-sensitve, with outcomes that are consistent with international law.

A full program, along with conference papers and presentations, can be found here.

Podcast: Conference 2019 - Deciding refugee claims

Recorded: 26 November 2019


About the Speakers

Om Dhungel is a trained telecommunications engineer. He is now a consultant and a practitioner of the Strength-Based Approach to refugee settlement and community engagement, offering his services as a trainer, mentor and a speaker. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Om is currently a Director on the Board of the Asylum Seekers Centre, a Member of NSW Police Multicultural Advisory Council and has served on the Boards of Settlement Services International, SydWest Multicultural Services and MTC Australia in the recent past. Formerly a refugee from Bhutan and the founding president of the Association of Bhutanese in Australia, Sydney, Om is a recipient of the 2017 University of Technology Sydney International Alumni Award and the 2016 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Community Medal for Lifetime Achievement amongst many other accomplishments.

Regina Jefferies is a Scientia PhD Scholar and Teaching Fellow at UNSW Sydney, an Affiliate of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and a Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration. She has worked as a consultant for the Washington Regional Office of UNHCR and was previously Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she taught in the Detainee Rights Clinic and helped to lead a team of lawyers in challenging the Trump Travel Ban. She has served on the National Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), was Chair of the Arizona Chapter of AILA, and served on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Field Operations Liaison Committee of AILA (2013-2017). She holds a Master of Studies from the University of Oxford. Her PhD project examines the role of street-level bureaucrats in the internalisation of the norm of non-refoulement in representative, in-depth case studies of Australia and the United States.

Edward Santow has been Human Rights Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission since August 2016. He leads the Commission’s work on detention and implementing the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT); refugees and migration; human rights issues affecting LGBTI people; counter-terrorism and national security; technology and human rights; freedom of expression; and freedom of religion. His areas of expertise include human rights, public law and discrimination law. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow at UNSW Sydney, and serves on a number of boards and committees. In 2009, Ed was presented with an Australian Leadership Award, and in 2017, he was recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. From 2010-2016, he was chief executive of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. He was previously a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law School, a research director at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and a solicitor in private practice.

Mary Anne Kenny is Associate Professor in the School of Law, Murdoch University. She teaches and researches in the area of refugee and immigration law. She has a particular interest in the intersection of refugee law and issues related to mental health. She is an adjunct Associate  professor in the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University. She was formerly the Chair of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. She is a former member the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (2012-2018), and previously chaired the independent Legal Sub-committee of the Joint Advisory Committee for the Governments of Australia and Nauru on the regional processing of asylum seekers.

Nicholas Procter is Chair of Mental Health Nursing and leader of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group at the University of South Australia. He has longstanding interests in refugee and asylum seeker mental health and suicidality, and has published extensively on these topics. He was formerly a member of the Steering Committee for the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Own Motion Investigation into Suicide and Self Harm across the Australian Immigration Detention Network, the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (2009-2018), and chaired the independent Physical and Mental Health Sub-committee of the Joint Advisory Committee for the Governments of Australia and Nauru on the regional processing of asylum seekers. In 2017, he was awarded the Partnering with Lived Experience Award and the Dr Margaret Tobin Award for leadership in mental health. That year he commenced leading a national targeted suicide prevention program for NGO workers supporting asylum seekers and refugees on temporary visas in Australia, and this work continues. He was awarded the Department of Correctional Services Merit Award (Community Partnerships) in 2019 as a member of the team delivering suicide prevention education to South Australian prison staff.


The Kaldor Centre plays a vital role in developing legal, sustainable and humane solutions for displaced people around the world.