Australian Indigenous woman elected to the UN 'Indigenous Permanent Forum'

SEE ALSO: The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII or PFII)

April 30, 2010 ABC News


Megan Davis
Megan Davis Profile

An international human rights lawyer and Australian National University academic has become the first Australian Indigenous woman to be elected to a United Nations body.

Megan Davis is to become a member of the UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Ms Davis was nominated by the Federal Government and elected in a vote by countries in the UN's Economic and Social Council.

The forum advises on issues including Indigenous economic and social development, culture, health and human rights.

Ms Davis will join the group in 2011 and says it is an "exciting" three-year post.

"I look forward to contributing to the development of Indigenous people's rights in international law," she said.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith describe Ms Davis as an "outstanding candidate".

"[It's] another step in the pursuit of a new relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians," they said in a joint press release.

Ms Davis is the director of the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of New South Wales and a PhD researcher at the Australian National University.

- ABC/AAP

Megan Davis Profile

Megan Davis BA (Australian Studies) LLB (UQ); LLM (International Law) GDLP (ANU)
Megan Davis is a Murri lawyer who specialises in Indigenous constitutional issues and international human rights law.

In Brief

  • Megan Davis is the Director of the Indigenous Law Centre and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales.
  • Megan's scholarship is on Indigenous issues in public law and Indigenous peoples and international law in particular the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Megan teaches Public Law, Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Law and Policy and Indigenous Peoples in International Law.
  • Megan is an admitted Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of the ACT. Megan is also a member of the International Law Association's Indigenous Rights Committee.
  • Megan's previous positions include Director, Bill of Rights project, Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law; Senior Research Fellow, Research Unit, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS and Legal Counsel, Legal Branch, ATSIC.
  • Megan has held a UN Indigenous Fellowship, UNOHCHR, Geneva and has participated during the past decade in UN expert seminars and working groups including the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the UN Commission on Human Rights working group elaborating the draft declaration on indigenous rights.

Profile Research and Publications

General Overview

Megan Davis is Director, Indigenous Law Centre and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law. Megan is also an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Megan teaches, writes and researches on Indigenous issues in public law and international law. In particular, Megan is interested in Indigenous rights and constitutional reform, as well as Indigenous peoples and democratic theory and governance. Megan's main area of expertise is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Aboriginal women's rights.

Megan has extensive experience as an international human rights lawyer and participated in the drafting of the UNDRIP from 1999-2004. Megan is a former United Nations Indigenous Fellow of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and has participated as a lawyer in Indigenous legal advocacy, UN working groups and expert seminars at the United Nations for over a decade. Megan is also an Australian member of the International Law Association's Indigenous Rights Committee.

Megan's previous positions include Director, Bill of Rights project, G + T Centre of Public Law; Senior Research Fellow, Jumbunna, UTS and Legal Counsel, Administrative, Legislation and Corporate Law Section, Legal Branch, ATSIC.

Megan is an admitted Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of the A.C.T. although currently not practicing.

Megan is completing her PhD (Law) at the Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU examining Aboriginal women and democracy.

Areas of expertise
Indigenous peoples and democratic theory, Indigenous peoples and constitutional law, Aboriginal women's legal issues, Indigenous peoples in International law, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, international human rights law.

Courses Taught
LAWS1140 Public Law
LAWS3211 Indigenous People and the Law
LAWS8181 International Human Rights
LAWS8413 Indigenous Peoples in International Law
LAWS8415 Contemp Issues in Int'l & Domestic Indigenous Law

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

   • Editorial Board, Indigenous Law Bulletin,
   • Editor, Australian Indigenous Law Review
   • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Advisory Panel on the Government's Human Rights Small Grants Scheme
   • Board Member, Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) UNSW, Board of Directors
   • Board Member, Ngalaya Aboriginal Corporation - Indigenous Lawyers in NSW, Board of Directors
   • Member, Advisory Committee to the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into the Royal Commissions Act 1902
   • Member, Ngara Yura Indigenous Committee, Judicial Commission of NSW
   • Member, Aboriginal Advisory Committee, NSW Environment Defenders Office
   • Member, Steering Committee, UNSW Health and Human Rights Initiative
   • Member, Australian Law Reform Commission, Aboriginal Advisory Body.
   • Member, ATSI Reference Group, Oxfam Australia.
   • Centre Associate, Gilbert +Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW Faculty of Law
   • Member, Australasian Law Teachers Association
   • Member, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
   • Member, Reconciliation Action Plan, Gilbert + Tobin.
   • Member, Reconciliation Action Plan, Australian Law Reform Commission.
   • Editorial Board, Balayi: Culture, Law and Colonialism Journal of Law (2003-2009)
   • Editorial Board, Journal of Indigenous Policy (2003-2007)

Some ANTAR Articles by Megan Davis