6th World Congress on Family Law & Children’s Rights


16 March 2013

Voices that need to be heard

Ms Suraya Pakzad will share stories of women from Afghanistan in the opening plenary of the 6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights

Helping a young Afghani girl who is nine years old and has been forced to marry because of family poverty is, sadly, not unusual for Suraya Pakzad the Executive Director of Voice of Women, Afghanistan. It is a role and life which faces incredible challenges, not the very least, her own personal safety. There are few times when Suraya can sleep well, walk down the street or get in a car without wondering if this will be her last day. 


She is one of the most courageous women in the world but she is not bullet proof. 

Suraya is a woman who in Herat Afghanistan has committed herself to the rights of children and women. During the Taliban period she ran underground schools for girls and has been recognised by the Bill Clinton Foundation and by President George Bush Jn for her courage.


Suraya will give the VanDuzer Memorial Lecture at the

Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on

Monday 18 March 2013 at 9am.


A short film outlining the work of the Suraya and her organization, Voice of Women in Afghanistan is imperative viewing and will be screened during the plenary. It can be accessed from: https://vimeo.com/60319802

Other key topics at the 6th World Congress include:

  • Cases of intergenerational state removal of children: successful interventions to break the cycle
  • Biological effects of high conflict on children:
  • Court generated conflict and its impact on children:
  • Toxic impact of violence on a child’s brain: how children’s brains are impacted by toxic environments
  • Child Neglect Syndrome: evidence that children who witness violence become adult victims or violators

Key speakers and contributors at the 6th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights are The Hon Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO, Family Court of Australia; Moira Kelly AO, Director of Children First Foundation; Lord Justice Sir Mathew Thorpe, Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales; Commissioner Tony Negus, Australian Federal Police; Professor Janet A Walker, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University (UK); Dr Hugo Gold, Chairman RCH Clinical Advisory Board; Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO The Alannah and Madeline Foundation; Dr Helen Durham, Adviser, International Law, Australian Red Cross; Lynn Gillam, Associate Professor in Health Ethics, Centre for Health and Society, University of Melbourne.

Patron of the Congress for 2013 is Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

A full program is available online at:  http://www.wcflcr2013.com/

For further information contact: Jacob O’Shaughnessy 0413 440 699 or 02 9926 0288