Image for Leading human rights barrister Julian Burnside examines asylum seeker policies worldwide


The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival will screen the world premiere of Border Politics on 15 May in Melbourne. Border Politics follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he crosses the globe to examine the treatment of refugees.

The documentary highlights refugee and asylum seeker policies enforced in developed countries. Julian Burnside compares the attitudes of these countries to demonstrate the role political leadership plays in refugee policies.

Currently, every minute, 24 people around the world flee their home because of violence or persecution. Many do not survive. During 2017 one in 36 asylum seekers died crossing the Mediterranean.

“The human dimension of the problem is kept well hidden,” says Julian Burnside. “The tragedy is that those who suffer it are politically irrelevant, and those who have the power to change it either do not know or do not care”

The film is directed by Judy Rymer, who has 30 years’ film-making experience. Her work covers a wide range of subjects concentrating on social and political history, and science.

The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival opens in Melbourne on 3 May 2018 and tours across the nation. This year, their festival focuses on five contemporary human rights themes: conflict and global people movement, gender equality, Indigenous rights, rehabilitation and retribution and the environment and rights. Tickets can be purchased at


Julian Burnside
Julian Burnside is an esteemed Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also a prominent human rights and refugee advocate, and author.

From Border Politics. Julian can discuss the film and what it covers, including: the harsh treatment of refugees by most Western democracies and how Governments increasingly talk up xenophobic fears, falsely labelling refugees as economic migrants, illegals and terrorists; increasingly using refugees as scapegoats in the race by politicians to curb our civil liberties and erode our human rights.

Gillian Triggs
Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs was the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012-2017. Gillian Triggs was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007-12 and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005-2007. Triggs is a former Barrister and a Governor of the College of Law.

From Border Politics. Gillian can discuss the troubling findings of the Human Rights Commission report and her involvement in Border Politics.

Judy Rymer
Judy Rymer is an award-winning director/producer whose work has been commissioned by both local and international broadcasters. Director of Border Politics. She can discuss why she was motivated to make this film and the process of filming the documentary.

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