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Chasing Wrongs and Rights

My Experience Defending Human Rights Around the World

Published by Scribner Australia
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

The Australia Director at Human Rights Watch shares her experiences defending human rights – from human trafficking in Nepal to the 'drug war' in the Philippines to treatment of detainees in Papua New Guinea and in Australia – offering an extremely involving personal account of how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve got to go.
Growing up in Perth, Elaine Pearson always dreamt of the wider world. Her British father and Singaporean-Chinese mother meant that her family extended beyond our shores, but it wasn’t until later in life that she fully understood how her professional calling might have been influenced by personal history: she learned that her beloved maternal grandmother had been sold to an opera troupe as a child to save the family from starvation.
As soon as she could, Elaine followed her interest in women’s rights and people-trafficking, interviewing sex-workers and victims of trafficking on the streets of Bangkok and Amsterdam’s red light district. Her experiences in Nepal and Nigeria profoundly shaped her understanding of how governments and NGOs need to protect the rights of victims, as well as how poverty, corruption and war drive trafficking in the first place.
Elaine’s story takes us on a panoramic survey of human rights across the world – into the UN committee rooms of New York and Geneva, as well as to the front-lines of Sri Lanka’s search for those who disappeared in the country’s civil war, examining death squad killings on the Philippines island of Mindanao and the detention of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea. And her work on the appalling treatment of prisoners, many of whom are Aboriginal, vividly demonstrates that human rights abuses are something that happens at home as well as out in that wider world.
In exploring human rights abuses and governments’ failure to address them, Chasing Wrongs and Rights sometimes shows humanity at its worst. Just as often, though, we see people at their best – compassionate, resilient, determined. Deeply informative and inspiring, Elaine Pearson’s story will leave you understanding how much needs to change, and how individuals can make a difference.

About The Author

Photograph © Elaine Pearson

Elaine Pearson is the Australia Director at Human Rights Watch, based in Sydney. She established Human Rights Watch’s Australia office in 2013 and works to influence Australian foreign and domestic policies in order to give them a human rights dimension. Pearson writes frequently for a range of publications and her articles have appeared in the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Foreign Policy and the Washington Post. From 2007 to 2012 she was the Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division based in New York. She has conducted numerous human rights investigations in Australia and around the world.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Pearson worked for the United Nations and various non-governmental organisations in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kathmandu and London. She is an adjunct lecturer in law at the University of New South Wales, on the advisory committee of UNSW’s Australian Human Rights Institute and on the board of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women. Pearson holds degrees in law and arts from Murdoch University and obtained her Master's degree in public policy at Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner Australia (August 30, 2022)
  • Length: 280 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761104190

Raves and Reviews

‘Few in Australia have the vast practical experience, courage and unflappable purpose in championing human rights than Elaine Pearson. In this book, her iron belief in the basic rights of all, our shared humanity and a vision for a more equal world is buttressed by real stories at the intersection between not just rights or otherwise, but sometimes life or death.’

– Craig Foster AM

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