Book Panel: The Prevention of Torture

Event details

Panel discussion

Date & time

Wednesday 26 June 2019


Seminar Room A, China in the World Building, Building #188, ANU
ANU Canberra


Danielle Celermajer (University of Sydney), Kathy Ragless (Companion House), Rebecca Minty (Office of the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services), Nick Cheesman (Department of Political & Social Change, ANU)


Mitch Clyne

There is an urgent need to analyze and assess how we prevent torture, against the background of a rigorous analysis of the factors that condition and sustain it. Drawing on rich empirical material from Sri Lanka and Nepal, The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach interrogates the factors that condition and sustain torture, in order to propose how to bring about systemic institutional and cultural change. Critics have decried human rights approaches’ a failure to attend to structural factors, but this book seeks to go beyond a ‘stance of criticism’ to take up the positive project of reimagining human rights theory and practice. It discusses key debates in human rights and political theory, as well as the challenges that advocates face in translating structural analyses into real world interventions. Danielle Celermajer develops a new, ecological framework for mapping the worlds that produce torture, and thereby develops prevention strategies.


  • Danielle Celermajer (University of Sydney)

  • Kathy Ragless (Companion House)

  • Rebecca Minty (Office of the ACT Inspector of Correctional Services)

  • Nick Cheesman (Department of Political & Social Change, ANU)

Danielle Celermajer is a Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. A human rights scholar, she established the Masters of Human Rights and Democratization (Asia Pacific) as part of the Global Campus on Human Rights. In 2011, she received a 1.5 million EURO to create and direct a multi-country project on the prevention of torture, focusing on everyday violence in the security sector. Her publications include Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apology (Cambridge University Press 2009) and The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and (with Richard Sherwin), The Cultural History of Law (Bloomsbury 2019). She is the co-convener of the Human Animal Research Network and director of the Multispecies Justice Project at the University of Sydney. She is currently working on the epistemic and practical shifts required to alter how humans experience non-human animals and on experiments in creating forms of life and institutions that will support justice across the environment, animals and humans.

Nick Cheesman is a Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University. His current research is on torture in mainland Southeast Asia.

Rebecca Minty is the Deputy Inspector, at the ACT Office of the Inspector of Correctional Services. Prior to this she worked on human rights in closed environments in Australia and for Geneva-based NGO, the Association for the Prevention of Torture.

Kathy Ragless has been Director of Companion House Assisting Survivors of Torture and Trauma since 2001. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for work with refugee communities and service to Companion House in 2011.

This event is open to the public and is jointly organized with Companion House: Assisting Survivors of Torture and Trauma.

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