Five Australians Shortlisted for Human Rights Medal
19 November 2015 at 10:07 am
The five Australians shortlisted for this year’s Human Rights Medal are “exceptional and inspiring individuals”, according to Australian Human Rights Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs.
Muslim leader and anti-domestic violence campaigner, Maha Krayem Abdo, was shortlisted alongside a leader of Australia’s marriage equality campaign, Rodney Croome.
Professor Pat Dudgeon, who was the first Aboriginal psychologist to graduate in Australia and is one of the first Mental Health Commissioners in the country, is also on the shortlist for the 2015 Human Rights Medal.
Former Australian of the year and tireless anti-racism campaigner, Adam Goodes, together with journalist and freedom of speech advocate, Peter Greste, complete the list.
“These five outstanding Australians have come from different walks of life but they share a commitment to freedom, justice and equality,” Professor Triggs said.
The leadership provided by Maha Krayem Abdo has seen the Muslim Women's Association become a peak representative body for Muslim women in Australia.
“Maha Krayem Abdo has also helped a great many individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds escape domestic or family violence,” Triggs said.
Triggs congratulated Professor Dudgeon on her dedication to improving the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Human Rights Commissioner commended Professor Dudgeon for her work on suicide prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around Australia.
In relation to Rodney Croome, Professor Triggs praised his unwavering commitment to achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians.
“Mr Croome’s capacity to build community support for much-needed legal reform and positive social change continues to have a significant impact on Australia,” she said.
Triggs said the inclusion of Adam Goodes on the Human Rights Medal shortlist acknowledged the positive influence Goodes continued to have in the lives of a great many Australians.
“We know Mr Goodes as an outstanding footballer and as a former Australian of the Year,” she said.
“But we also know Mr Goodes as a proud Indigenous man with the courage to speak out against racism and to actively strive towards building a better place for all Australians.”
Triggs said she was delighted to see the fifth and final shortlisted candidate, Peter Greste, acknowledged for his commitment to free speech.
“Journalists must be free to report news and criticise governments without fear of punishment,” she said.
“After his release from prison in Egypt, where he was imprisoned for allegedly spreading false news, Mr Greste campaigned tirelessly for the release of his colleagues, and campaigned for freedom of speech as a cornerstone of democratic societies.
“We honour not only these five shortlisted Australians, but all of the people and organisations nominated for this year’s human rights awards.
“The record number of nominations we received for these awards highlights the wide-ranging support for human rights that exists at all levels of the community.”
The Human Rights Commission will present the annual Human Rights Awards on 10 December at a lunch at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.
At the event Triggs will deliver a keynote speech on the future of Human Rights in Australia.