Victoria Coakley



Lionel Murphy Postgraduate Scholar


Year: 1999

Australian Scholarship




Biographical Notes:

1999 Lionel Murphy Postgraduate Scholarship; BEc/LLB, Macquarie University; LLM, University of New South Wales, Sydney

In her economics law degree, Victoria was the founding editor of the Macquarie University Law Society's monthly newsletter in 1992, the founding editor of the Law Society's Summer Clerkship Guide 1993, member of the Law Students Education and Discrimination Committee, the newsletter editor for the Australasian Law Students' Association (ALSA) in 1993, the Australian Vice-President of that association in 1994 and the recipient of the Tress Cocks & Maddox Scholarship in Law. Victoria undertook a summer clerkship at the NSW Law Reform Commission working on the Commission's Community Law Reform Program, and the reference concerning Vulnerable Persons in the Custody of the Police. She pursued her commitment to human rights as the campaign coordinator for Amnesty International on campus and providing research assistance to the director of Amnesty's National Branch on UN international human rights documents and the European harmonisation laws for the purpose of analysing whether these rights adequately protect asylum seekers.

After graduating from Macquarie University in 1994, Victoria travelled throughout Asia and the Middle East. Upon returning home in 1996 she completed the NSW admissions requirements and worked in the medical negligence and employment law division at Tress Cocks & Maddox. During this time Victoria was the campaign coordinator for the NSW Branch Lawyers Network of Amnesty International, a member of the Executive Committee, and a committee member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights.

Between 1997 and 1999, following a desire to actively work in the human rights and development area overseas, Victoria worked as an Australian Volunteer with a human rights organisation called Burma Issues in Bangkok, Thailand. As co-manager of the human rights violations documentation centre, Victoria worked alongside Burmese nationals in helping establish a user-friendly human rights violations database and documentation system, assisting researchers, providing human rights education and materials for staff and field workers, providing guidance for staff documenting human rights violations, contributing to the organisation's monthly newsletter on human rights issues and writing special reports.

As a current Lionel Murphy Australian Postgraduate Scholar, Victoria has been focusing on international law, human rights and indigenous legal issues at the University of NSW, Sydney. From September 1999 to February 2000 she worked part-time as a consultant to the non-government organisation Diplomacy Training Program founded in 1989 by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Jose Ramos Horta, which has trained more than 500 human rights defenders from 30 countries in human rights issues and 'people's diplomacy'. The organisation's 10th annual training was held in Darwin January 23 to February 12, which Victoria attended providing administrative assistance as well as facilitating sessions and providing materials on refugee & internally displaced persons, human rights commissions in the Asia Pacific region, and human rights documentation. She is due to complete her LLM studies in June 2000.



Human Rights Monitoring, Diplomacy Training Program Human Rights Manual, (written with Carol Devine, Program Officer, DTP) January 2000

Human Rights Resources on the Internet, Diplomacy Training Program Human Rights Manual, January 2000

"Dammed if they Do, Dammed if they Don't," Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 9 No 1, January 1999

"Life in the Jungle: The Dilemma of Internally Displaced Persons," Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 8 No 11, November 1998

"The Politics of Stability: Co-opting Burma's Civil Society Through the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA)," Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 8 No 10, October 1998

"Towards Peace, Justice and Reconciliation," Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 8 No 8, August 1998

"Towards the Rule of Law & ‘Disciplined Flourishing Democracy,’" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 8 No 6, June 1998

Member of the editorial team for the book, Burma: Voices of Women in the Struggle, published by the Alternative Asean Network on Burma (ALTSEAN), June 1998

Anticipating Repatriation (report published by Burma Issues, April 1998, distributed to the international community, local NGOs and activists)

"Thailand: Violating the Right to Non-Refoulement (1)" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 7 No 11, November 1997, & (2) Vol 8 No 1, January 1998

"Chin Women’s Organisation: Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way", "An Enhanced Role for the UNHCR on the Thai-Burma Border" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 8 No 4, April 1998

"Refugees: International Responsibility" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 7 No 12, December 1997

"The effects of civil war on the women of Burma" Human Rights Defender (Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law UNSW) Vol 6 No 4, December 1997

"HIV/Aids in Burma: An Overview" and "Out of Bounds: HIV/Aids at Burma’s Borders" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 7 No 10, October 1997

"Asian Values of Asean Authoritarian Leaders’ Values?" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 7 No 9, September 1997

"Asean: Now We Are Nine" Burma Issues newsletter, Vol 7 No 8, August 1997

"Voluntary Repatriation: At the Cost of Protection and Security?" Burma Issues Newsletter, Vol 7 No 7, July 1997

"The Combined Power of Government Imposed Sanctions and Grassroots Activism" Burma Issues Newsletter, Vol 7 No 5, May 1997

To Forcibly Repatriate or Not - Thailand’s Dilemma (report published by Burma Issues, May 1997, distributed to the international community, local NGOs and activists)

"Political Repression in China" Human Rights Defender (Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law UNSW) Vol 5(3) September 1996