To be the leading non-profit organisation in Australia working for the liberty of asylum seekers, refugees and stateless through legal action, advocacy and education.
A world in which all people enjoy liberty without discrimination
How we work
Human Rights for All brings a collaborative, creative and flexible approach to securing freedom for refugees and stateless people. We work in tandem with other law firms and human rights organisations on a wide range of cases.
HR4A represents clients before Tribunals, in the Federal Court, Federal Circuit and Family Court and the High Court. We also make submissions to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), Human Rights Council, the Committee against Torture and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
HR4A also focuses on advocacy and education to shine a light on the detention of refugees and the stateless.
How we started
How we started
How we started
Alison Battisson - Director Principal
Human Rights for All was founded and is headed by Director Principal, Alison Battisson. Before establishing HR4A, Alison worked as a corporate lawyer for top tier firms in Australia, the UK and Indonesia. She has also worked with various volunteer organisations in Zimbabwe, Australia and the UK.
Alison has a Bachelor of Law (Hons) from the University of Sydney, a Bachelors of Asian Studies and Arts from the Australian National University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Law from the University of London and a Masters of Law (Human Rights and Social Justice) from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Alison has been included on the UNSW Dean’s list for academic excellence.
Alison is an in-demand speaker, lecturer and panelist, who can speak authoritatively to media, audiences and students on a wide range of issues related to arbitrary detention, stateless persons, and the ongoing punitive policies towards such people.
Alison has received a number of awards for her work.
Zaki Omar - Special Counsel
Zaki graduated from University of London with LLB. (Hons) in 2000, the following year he was called to the Bar of England and Wales as a barrister of Lincoln's Inn. In 2007, he obtained his LL.M from University of New South Wales. He is a practicing solicitor in NSW and also an advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. For many years, Zaki worked mostly as a corporate and commercial lawyer both in top-tier private practice and as in-house counsel for multinational corporations. Notably, his roles over the years included working as senior lawyer at Deacons in Australia and as general counsel and director of Grameenphone, the largest telecom subsidiary of Telenor Norway by subscription, founded by Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Zaki also received various professional trainings over the years, including advanced leadership training in Norway, advanced negotiation skills training in Spain and international arbitration training in Egypt. In 2018, Zaki had a change of heart and decided to divert his legal career to focus on human rights laws. He joined HR4A in 2018 as a senior lawyer and has been engaged in all aspects of legal services to clients detained in onshore immigration detention in Australia, including representation before courts and tribunals.
Eric Zhang - Solicitor Advocate
Eric graduated from Macquarie University in 2020 and holds a combined degree of Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Finance). Upon admission, Eric decided to champion his values into his professional life and immediately begun working in the social justice sector. He commenced working as a solicitor at the National Justice Project towards the end of 2020 where he contributed to personal injury matters concerning the Commonwealth’s non-delegable duty of care to children detained in offshore regional processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea and the rights of the LGBTQI community to protest during the COVID-19 pandemic. During university, Eric was extensively involved with the Refugee Law Project, a pro bono scheme established to assist asylum seekers seeking judicial review before the then Federal Circuit Court, the Federal Court and the High Court.
Eric's main practice areas are public and administrative law, and international human rights law. Eric was involved in several litigious matters in early 2022 which led to the closure of the Park Hotel in Melbourne, and was also involved in assisting Afghan citizens being uplifted from Kabul to Australia shortly after the Taliban took control over Afghanistan.
Shira Sebban - Migration Agent
A long-time volunteer refugee advocate and writer, Shira formally joined HR4A in late 2021, where she now works for us pro bono, having completed a Graduate Diploma in Migration Law and Practice at UTS, achieving a place on the Dean’s Merit List.
In June 2022, Shira was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the Jewish community in a range of roles, including refugee advocacy. A member of community group SASS (Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney), she also serves as a guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum, combining lessons learned notably from the Holocaust with her passion for social justice. An experienced journalist, she has a BA (Honours) degree from the University of Melbourne and taught French while undertaking post-graduate research at the University of Queensland.
Shira recently completed her second book, Vietnam’s Modern-Day Boat People: Bridging Borders for Freedom, which will be published by Mcfarland Books (US) in 2023. It tells the story of how volunteer advocates from across the globe banded together to help several Vietnamese refugee families on their eventual journey to freedom. Highlighting the extraordinary courage of “ordinary” people – both refugees and advocates – in their struggle for liberty, it shows what can be achieved when borders prove no boundary.
Our passion-driven team makes up our core strength
The Human Rights for All team is comprised of senior lawyers, paralegals and administrative support personnel, all of who are passionate about ending arbitrary detention and obtaining liberty for as many long-term detained persons as possible. We look towards a future where mandatory detention for refugees and the stateless no longer exists, and instead there is a fair and just path to a safe and productive life.
Our paralegal team includes law students from a number of NSW universities, all of who have a particular interest in human rights law. HR4A also provides supervision for law graduates completing their Practical Legal Training (PLT). Paralegals are exposed to unique cases at all levels of advocacy and Australia’s legal system, including to the High Court of Australia.
Our International Profile
In December 2021, after several years of submissions to the UN, particularly the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (for which all opinions involving Australia handed down by the Working Group were for our cases), it was confirmed that Human Rights For All has been granted Special Consultative Status by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This allows NGOs like HR4A to designate representatives to attend, appear at and observe at the UN in New York and Geneva. This is a pretty big deal, which will allow us to continue to highlight the issues around long-term and arbitrary immigration detention in Australia. We are incredibly proud of this acknowledgement of our ongoing advocacy in relation to Australia's immigration detention regime.