Ms Bassina Farbenblum

B.Sc./ LL.B. (UNSW), LL.M. (New York University)

Bassina joined UNSW as in 2009 after a decade as a human rights litigator and clinical legal educator in New York, Mumbai, and Sydney. Bassina established, and currently directs, the UNSW Human Rights Clinic and is founding Co-Director of the global Migrant Worker Justice Initiative. Bassina has led numerous national and global research teams on the rights of migrant workers in Australia, Asia, the US and globally, working closely with civil society, trade unions, business, governments, donors, and international organisations. Her research establishes an evidence base and theoretical frameworks for preventing exploitation of migrant workers and enabling access to justice under domestic and international law. Bassina's current research focuses in particular on the role of states, business, and education providers in preventing and addressing exploitative recruitment and employment practices, including the potential role of technology. Within the UNSW Human Rights Clinic, Bassina leads international litigation, law and policy reform initiatives and government training projects that advance the rights of refugees and migrants while training the next generation of human rights lawyers.

Before coming to UNSW Bassina practiced at the New York Bar and was a litigation attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, and at appellate law firm WilmerHale LLP, where she argued the first U.S. Court of Appeals case on the national-security exception to asylum. Bassina also directed a human rights clinical program at Seton Hall Law School. Previously, Bassina was a solicitor at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Sydney, and a policy officer at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

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Books

Farbenblum B, 2014, Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Nepal, Open Society Foundations, http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/migrant-workers-access-justice-home-nepal

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S, 2013, Migrant Workers' Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia, Open Society Foundations, http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/migrant-workers-access-justice-home-indonesia

Conference Presentations

Farbenblum B, 2018, 'The National Temporary Migrant Work Survey: Findings and barriers to addressing underpayment', presented at Research Workshop: Migrant workers in the farm sectors of the United States and Australia, Sydney University, 15 - 15 November 2018

Farbenblum B, 2018, 'Exploitation of International Students: A Role for the International Education Sector', presented at Australian International Education Conference, Sydney, 12 - 12 October 2018

Farbenblum B, 2018, 'Exploitation of International Students in Accommodation and at Work: A Call to Action', presented at Symposium on Leading Education Recruitment, Brisbane, 17 - 17 September 2018

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2016, 'Remedying migrant worker exploitation in Australia', presented at Symposium on Transnational People-Movement and Social Rights, Sydney University, 13 - 14 December 2016

Farbenblum B, 2016, 'Strategies, Approaches and Stakeholders', presented at Regional Dialogue on Women Migrant Workers, Bangkok, 07 - 09 December 2016

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2016, 'Remedying migrant worker exploitation in Australia – Lessons from the 7-Eleven Wage Panel', presented at 'International and Comparative Perspectives on Australian Labour Migration’ Workshop, Melbourne, 21 - 22 July 2016

Farbenblum B, 2015, 'Strengthening Indonesian migrant workers’ access to justice', presented at Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate of the Protection of Indonesian Citizens and Legal Entities Overseas – Annual National Coordination Meeting, Jakarta, 21 - 21 October 2015

Farbenblum B, 2015, 'Addressing Policy Gaps in International Labor Recruitment Regulation', presented at Solidarity Centre Conference on Worker Rights & Shared Prosperity, Bogor, Indonesia, 01 - 01 August 2015

Farbenblum B, 2015, 'Beyond Pre-departure – Pursuing Access to Justice', presented at Solidarity Centre Conference on Worker Rights & Shared Prosperity, Bogor, Indonesia, 01 - 01 August 2015

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Q&A with leading experts on approaches to the regulation of recruitment and labour and criminal justice responses', presented at International Labour Organization and UN Office on Drugs and Crime Workshop - Regulating Recruitment: Labour and Criminal Justice Responses in Preventing Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Exploitatio, Bangkok, 18 - 19 November 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Rights-Based Governance of Labour Migration: The View from Countries of Origin', presented at UNESCO Symposium on Human Mobility, Diversity and Justice, Deakin University, Melbourne, 10 - 10 November 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Accountability in Recruitment and Migrant Workers’ Access to Remedies: Looking through the Lens of Recruitment Contracts', presented at Ingram Workshop on Migrant Recruitment in the Asia Pacific Region, UNSW, Sydney, 22 - 22 October 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Opening address', presented at Ingram Symposium on Governance of Labour Migration in the Asia Pacific Region, UNSW, Sydney, 21 - 21 October 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Roundtable Discussion - Labour Migration', presented at Development and the Private Sector, Canberra, 23 - 23 October 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Migrant Workers' Access to Justice in Indonesia: Proposals for Reform', presented at Empowering Indonesian Women for Poverty Reduction, Jakarta, 01 - 01 September 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'Migrant workers’ access to justice in South and South East Asia', presented at Workshop on Forced Migration and Human Rights Protection in the Asia Pacific Region: Mobilising Opportunities, Melbourne, 08 - 08 August 2014

Farbenblum B, 2014, 'UNSW Human Rights Clinic: Teaching Reflective Human Rights Lawyering', presented at Australian Human Rights Teachers Workshop, Melbourne, 01 - 01 February 2014

Farbenblum B, 2012, 'Invited Oral Evidence to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' Inquiry into Detention of Indonesian Minors in Australia, on international human rights law implications of the', presented at Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' Inquiry into Detention of Indonesian Minors in Australia, 24 - 24 August 2012

Farbenblum B, 2011, '‘International Dimensions in Clinical Legal Education: Opportunities and Challenges for Australian Clinics', presented at Australian national conference on clinical and experiential learning, UNSW, Sydney, 07 - 07 September 2011

Farbenblum B, 2011, '‘Australian Interception of Asylum Seekers in Asia: Opportunities and Obstacles for Public Interest Lawyers Looking Beyond Australia’s Border', presented at Public Interest Law – Opportunities and Obstacles conference, Melbourne Law School, 27 - 27 September 2011

Farbenblum B, 2011, 'Invited Oral Evidence to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' Inquiry into the Crimes Amendment (Fairness for Minors) Bill 2011, on international law implications of the Bill', presented at Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' Inquiry into the Crimes Amendment (Fairness for Minors) Bill 2011, 16 - 16 March 2011

Farbenblum B, 2011, 'Invited Oral Evidence to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' Inquiry into the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011, on international law implications of the Bill', presented at Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' Inquiry into the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011, 11 - 11 November 2011

Journal articles

Howe J; Berg L; Farbenblum B, 2018, 'Unfair Dismissal Law and Temporary Migrant Labour in Australia', Federal Law Review, vol. 46, pp. 19 - 48, http://dx.doi.org/10.22145/flr.46.1.2

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2017, 'Migrant workers’ access to remedy for exploitation in Australia: the role of the national Fair Work Ombudsman', Australian Journal of Human Rights, vol. 23, pp. 310 - 331, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2017.1392478

Berg L; Farbenblum B, 2017, 'Remedies for migrant worker exploitation in Australia: Lessons from the 7-eleven wage repayment program', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 41, pp. 1035 - 1084

Nolan J; farbenblum B, 2017, 'The Business of Migrant Worker Recruitment: Who has the Responsibility and Leverage to Protect Rights?', Texas International Law Journal, vol. 52, pp. 1 - 44

Nolan J; farbenblum B, 2017, 'The Business of Migrant Worker Recruitment: Who has the Responsibility and Leverage to Protect Rights?', Texas International Law Journal, vol. 52, pp. 1 - 44

FARBENBLUM B, 2016, 'Governance of Migrant Worker Recruitment: A Rights-Based Framework for Countries of Origin', Asian Journal of International Law, pp. 1 - 33, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S2044251316000011

Farbenblum B, 2011, 'Executive deference in U.S. refugee law: Internationalist paths through and beyond Chevron', Duke Law Journal, vol. 60, pp. 1059 - 1122

Allen SA; Rich JD; Bux RC; Farbenblum B; Berns M; Rubenstein L, 2006, 'Deaths of detainees in the custody of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002 to 2005', MedGenMed Medscape General Medicine, vol. 8

Other

Farbenblum B; Laurie B, 2018, Submission No 42 to Queensland Education, Employment and Small Business Committee Inquiry into Wage Theft in Queensland, https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/committees/EESBC/2018/Wagetheft/submissions/042.pdf

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2018, Submission No 21 to Senate Standing Committees on Education and Employment Inquiry into the exploitation of general and specialist cleaners working in retail chains for contracting or subcontracting c

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S; Sijapati B, 2014, Policy Brief: The Exploitation-Trafficking Continuum in Labor Migration and the Need for Reform in Nepal

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S; Sijapati B, 2014, Policy Brief: Labor Migration Agents in Nepal: Regulation, Accountability and Alternatives

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S; Sijapati B, 2014, Policy Brief: Overseas Assistance for Nepali Migrant Workers Seeking Justice Abroad

Nolan J; Farbenblum B, 2014, Is the World Cup Worth Dying For?

Farbenblum B, 2012, Submission No 11 to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into Detention of Indonesian Minors in Australia, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Farbenblum B, 2011, Submission No 4 to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Crimes Amendment (Fairness for Minors) Bill 2011, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Farbenblum B, 2011, Submission No 15 to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Deterring People Smuggling Bill 2011, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Farbenblum B, 2011, Smuggling Prosecutions: Unfair and Costly

Farbenblum B; McAdam J, 2010, Submission 23 to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Anti-People Smuggling and Other Measures Bill 2010, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Farbenblum B, 2010, Australia’s Role in the Interception and Detention of Asylum Seekers in Asia: Advocating for Transparency and Accountability

Farbenblum B, 2010, Afghan and Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers in Limbo: Setting a Poor Regional Example

Farbenblum B, 2009, Supreme Court of the United States, 2009 - Brief of Amici Curiae Human Rights and Religious Organizations, Al-Marri v. Spagone

Farbenblum B, 2008, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2008 - Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of International Human Rights Law, Khouzam v. Chertoff

Farbenblum B, 2008, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 2008 - Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of International Humanitarian Law, Saleh v. Titan; Ibrahim v. Titan

Farbenblum B, 2008, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, 2008 - Brief of Amici Curiae New Jersey Institute for Social Justice et al., Delrio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties

Farbenblum B, 2006, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2006 - Brief of Amici Curiae Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch et al., Yusupov v. Attorney General

Reports

Farbenblum B; Laurie B, 2018, Wage Theft in Silence: Why Temporary Migrant Workers Do Not Recover Their Unpaid Wages in Australia, http://www.mwji.org/survey

Farbenblum B; Berg L; Kintominas A, 2018, Transformative Technology for Migrant Workers: Opportunities, Challenges and Risks, Open Society Foundations, New York, http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.33044.55688

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2017, International Students and the Fair Work Ombudsman, Commonwealth Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman, https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/1160/International-students-and-the-fair-work-ombudsman-report.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2017, Wage Theft in Australia: Findings of the National Temporary Migrant Work Survey, http://dx.doi.org/10.4225/53/5ab19f1e85d8c

Farbenblum B; Berg L, 2017, Wage Theft in Australia: Findings of the National Temporary Migrant Work Survey, http://dx.doi.org/10.4225/53/5ab19f1e85d8c

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S; Sijapati B, 2014, Policy Brief: A Risky Business Accountability of Manpower Agencies in Nepal

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S, 2013, Strengthening Embassy Protection for Indonesian Migrant Workers: A Policy Brief for the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S, 2013, Creating a Stronger Migrant Labour Framework for the Next Decade: A Policy Brief for the Indonesian Parliament

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S, 2013, Improvement and Expansion of Migrant Worker Mediation Services: A Policy Brief for the Indonesian National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers

Farbenblum B; Taylor-Nicholson E; Paoletti S, 2013, Justice for Indonesia’s Millions of Migrant Workers: A Policy Brief for the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration

Farbenblum B, 2012, Submission No 3 to Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Removal of Mandatory Minimum Penalties) Bill 2012, Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Farbenblum B; Jansyn J, 2009, Crossing the Line: Damaging Immigration Enforcement Practices by New Jersey Police Following Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2007-3, The Center for Social Justice, Seton Hall School of Law

UNSW Law Faculty Award for Impact (2018)

Open Society Foundations International Migration Initiative Fellowship (2014)

New York University Global Public Interest Law Scholar (2003)

Lionel Murphy Scholarship (2003)

UNSW Alumni Graduand Award (2001)

Information For Impact: Enabling Education Providers To Address Exploitation Of International Students In Accommodation And At Work (2018)(with L Berg), StudyNSW Partner Project Grant Scheme

Wage Theft in Australia (2017) (with L Berg), UNSW Law Research Support Program Grants Scheme

Transformative Technology for Migrant Workers (2017-18) (with L Berg), Open Society Foundations

Research on working conditions of UNSW international students (2016-17) (with L Berg), UNSW Grand Challenge on Migration

Research in relation to the Fair Work Ombudsman's International Students Engagement Strategy (2016) (with J Howe, A Reilly, L Berg, A Gamlen and G Tan), Fair Work Ombudsman

Migrant Workers' Access to Justice in Australia: An Empirical Assessment (2015) (with L Berg), UNSW Law Faculty Research Grants Program & UTS Law Faculty Research Grant

Open Society Foundations International Migration Initiative Fellowship (2014)

Regulation of the Labour Migration Recruitment Industry: A Human Rights Based Approach (2014) (with J Nolan), UNSW Law Faculty Research Grants Program

Asia-Middle East Migration Corridor Transnational Access to Justice Project - Grant 4 (2013), Open Society Foundations

Asia-Middle East Migration Corridor Transnational Access to Justice Project - Grant 3 (2012), Open Society Foundations

Asia-Middle East Migration Corridor Transnational Access to Justice Project - Grant 2 (2012), Open Society Foundations

Asia-Middle East Migration Corridor Transnational Access to Justice Project - Grant 1 (2011), Open Society Foundations

Migrant Workers' Access to Justice in Indonesia (2011), Tifa Foundation

Asia Human Rights Clinics Project (2010), University of New South Wales Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) Contestable Funding Scheme

Labour migration and the rights of migrant workers, particularly in Asia, Australia and the U.S.; Migrant worker recruitment; Migrant workers' access to remedy; Exploitation of international students in Australia;  Technology and migrant workers; Business and human rights; Accountability for labour standards in supply chains; International human rights and domestic implementation; Asylum and refugee rights; Access to justice; Public interest litigation; Clinical legal education

Recent

Activities

29 Oct 2018
New report claims 'broken system' fails migrant workers suffering wage theft
Less than 10 per cent of international students and backpackers in Australia recover unpaid wages, even when they are aware they are being underpaid.
24 Oct 2018
New study goes deeper into international student exploitation
A UNSW Sydney and UTS project will lead the international education sector to respond to exploitation of international students in accommodation and at work.
29 May 2018
UNSW Law students release international guide to protect migrant workers
Students from UNSW Law’s Human Rights Clinic have developed a guide to protect the rights of the world’s 150 migrant workers.
14 Nov 2017
UNSW Law Co-leads Global Study on Digital Technology and Migrant Worker Protection
UNSW Law’s Bassina Farbenblum has been awarded a substantial grant from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations to undertake the first global study of digital technology initiatives intended to improve migrant worker protection and access to justice. The study, in collaboration with Laurie Berg (UTS Law), will explore the ways in which technology is being mobilised to transform the labour migration landscape and the host of risks and challenges that it brings.
Research|12 Feb 2019
UNSW joins world’s largest study of migration
The Migrant Worker Justice Initiative is participating in a project examining the rights of migrant workers in developing countries.
Research|10 Apr 2019
Universities to survey international students about exploitation
Academics from UNSW and UTS will survey international students about what help they need to avoid exploitation by employers and accommodation providers.
Achievement|Opinion|09 Jul 2019
International students at risk of exploitation by Sydney landlords, new report finds
A new report has found international students face multiple barriers to finding secure and affordable housing in Sydney, leaving students vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous landlords.