2016 Michael Whincop Memorial Lecture - Sport: Its Human Rights Implications

2016 Michael Whincop Memorial Lecture - Sport: Its Human Rights Implications
2016 Michael Whincop Memorial Lecture - Sport: Its Human Rights Implications

Principal speaker

Professor Sarah Joseph

Will the likely refusal to cancel the Olympics result in major threats to the enjoyment of the right to health, worldwide? Serious questions are being asked by health experts as to whether half a million people should flood into Rio while the Zika virus remains uncontained. What, if any, are the human rights obligations of international organisations like the International Olympic Committee? Should such events be awarded to countries with terrible human rights records, such as Russia, especially if preparation for the event might lead to abuses, such as the deaths during stadium construction in Qatar?

Issues also arise with regard to labour rights. Why do sportspeople often have significantly lesser labour rights? Why is a young AFL draftee not able to play for the club of his choice, but can only play for the club that picks him? Why can they only move to the club of their choice after ten years of playing for the same club?

Finally, significant issues regarding the health of sportspeople have arisen. The Essendon football club has been fined for OHS breaches due to its doping scandal. The affected players still do not know what they were injected with by their own employer. Worse is the disturbing evidence of the ongoing effects on football players from various codes of multiple concussions. Time Magazine reported in April that over 40% of NFL players in the US may have brain injuries. What did the NFL know about the dangers of its product for its employees, and when did it know it? What are its human rights obligations in this regard?

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About the speaker

Sarah Joseph is a Professor of Law at Monash University, and the Director of its Castan Centre for Human Rights Law since 2005. Her teaching and research interests are international human rights law and constitutional law. Her publications have focused on the intersections between human rights and a number of topics, including international trade law, multinational corporations, counterterrorism, the work of the media, and the use of social media to galvanise political change in the Arab Spring. 

She has published a number of books including Blame it on the WTO: A Human Rights Critique (OUP, 2011), Corporations and Transnational Human Rights Litigation (Hart 2004), co-authoring The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Cases, Commentary and Materials (OUP, 3rd ed, 2013), Federal Constitutional Law: A Contemporary View (LBC, 4th ed, 2014), and Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide (UN 2008).

Sarah has taught human rights law subjects in Australia, the US, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Macau. You can follow her on twitter at @profsarahj

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