The Human Rights Awards acknowledges the promotion of public understanding and discussion of human rights in Australia through the media, in literature and through film. This year saw the introduction of inaugural awards for songwriting and regional print media.

In view of the high standard of nominations, it was decided to issue, for the first time, Certificates of Commendation in recognition of outstanding nominees' achievement. The judges awarded 23 certificates over 11 categories and these are listed with the award below.

human rights medal

Winner: Associate Professor Fred Hollows AC

The prestigious Australian Human Rights Medal was awarded to Professor Fred Hollows AC who pioneered a program aimed at reducing the incidence of trachoma-caused blindness among Australia's Aboriginal people. Professor Hollows has worked at all levels in promoting Aboriginal health as a public issue and helped establish Aboriginal-managed health services in rural and urban Australia. He has also trained Eritrean doctors in less than a year to perform cataract surgery, providing a model for the surgical prevention of blindness in the rest of Africa. Professor Hollows was subsequently named Australian of the Year for 1990.

poetry award

Winner: The Women who live on the Ground - Lee Cataldi

Highly Commended: Holocaust Island - Graeme Dixon

drama award

Winner: Blood and Honour - Alex Harding

Highly Commended: Is this Seat Taken ? - The Women's Theatre Group

Highly Commended: The Refugee - Sidetrack Theatre

prose award

Winner: Sanctuary! Nazi Fugitives in Australia - Mark Aarons

Highly Commended: Paperbark: A collection of Black Australian Writings - Jack Davis, Steven Muecke, Mudrooroo Narogin and Adam Shoemaker

Highly Commended: One of the Family - Pealie O'Neill

film award

Winner: Struck by Lightning - Trevor Farrant and Terry Charatsis.

songwriting award

Winner: Took the Children Away - Archie Roach

Highly Commended: Bran Nue Dae - Jimmy Chi and Knuckles

television drama award

Winner: How Wonderful - Lynne Hegarty

Highly Commended: Boy Soldier - Australian Children's Television Foundation

television documentary award

Winner: Breaking Through - Richard Mason

Highly Commended: Savage Indictment - Nicholas Adler and Caroline Sherwood

Highly Commended: Hurting Inside - Four Corners - ABC TV

radio documentary/ current affairs award

Winner: Disabled Lovers - Michael Mullins - ABC Radio

Highly Commended: Spirituality, Dignity and Human Rights - Alan Austin - ABC Radio

Highly Commended: Grandpa, Your Left Foot is Missing - Claudio Taranto - Radio National

metropolitan newspapers award

Winner: A Lifetime of Terror - Marion Frith - Canberra Times

Highly Commended: Organ Donation: When a gift of life goes wrong and subsequent articles in a series- Rosemary West - The Age

Highly Commended: Prue Innes series of Articles - The Age

Highly Commended: The Independent Monthly for the commissioning of the series Aboriginalities

Commended: Four individual articles from the above series: Christopher Anderson Poor Billy Lost Among the Lawyers , Mudrooroo Narogin Welfares's Child, Steve Hawke They of the Never Never, Steve Hawke Diary of a Personal Note

regional newspapers award

Winner: Barry Levy, Collection of Articles - Queensland Times

Highly Commended: Human Rights Activities Battle for Mentally Ill - Paul Maguire - Newcastle Herald

Highly Commended:Unveiling Islam - Clare Morgan - Newcastle Herald

magazines award

Winner: Terror Australis - Duncan Graham - Sydney Morning Hearld, Good Weekend

Highly Commended: Getting to Know the Women of Vietnam and Islam and Get to Know Us - Anne Musgrave - Ita Magazine

Highly Commended: The Underclass - Lyndal Crisp - The Bulletin