Canberra Human Rights Lawyer named top ACT Business Woman

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 Dr Helen Watchirs, the ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner, has been named the 2012 Telstra ACT Business  Woman of the Year.

The ACT was the first jurisdiction in Australia to enact a Human Rights Act, which provides an explicit statutory basis for respecting, protecting and promoting civil and political rights.  The ACT Human Rights Commission was established in 2006 to promote and protect the rights and wellbeing of all people living in the Australian Capital Territory.  It is an independent statutory agency established by the Human Rights Commission Act 2005.

There are three separate Commissioners within the Commission, each with different responsibilities and functions.  Dr Helen Watchirs is the the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner.  The other two Commissioners are: Ms Mary Durkin – the Health Services Commissioner and the Disability and Community Services Commissioner; and Mr Alasdair Roy – the  Children and Young People Commissioner.

Dr Watchirs  manages the handling of discrimination, vilification and sexual  harassment complaints. She also educates the community about human rights and discrimination law  obligations and examines human rights of vulnerable people, including detainees (such as the 2011 audit of the ACT’s Bimberi Youth Detention Centre).

Prior to her work as the ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commission, she worked for a number of Federal Government agencies and United Nations agencies.

Claire Naidu & Co congratulate Dr Watchirs on her award.

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