Since 1987, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now known as the Australian Human Rights Commission) has recognised the often extraordinary contribution to Australian society of a wide variety of men and women committed to issues of human rights, social justice and equality through the annual Human Rights Medal and Awards.

Each year we receive outstanding nominations for the Human Rights Medal and award categories (Law (sponsored by the Law Council of Australia), Community, Arts Non-Fiction, Print Media, Television and Radio). They may have made an outstanding contribution within their communities or through the practice of law, through writing books about human rights issues or through their work in the media.

Human Rights Day Oration - by Catherine Branson QC, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission

human rights medal

The prestigious 2008 Human Rights Medal has been awarded to formidable international and domestic Indigenous advocate, Les Malezer.

young human rights medal award

The Young People’s Human Rights Medal was awarded for the first time this year to University of Queensland medical student,Alan Huynh, for his tireless work in multicultural community development, youth engagement and global health issues.

  • Audio: Alan Huynh [2.85Mb Mp3]


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law award

Awarded to Bill Mitchell, principal solicitor of Townsville Community Legal Centre, to recognise his work in the promotion and advancement of human rights through the practice of law.

community - individual award

Awarded to Sharon Boyce from Toowoomba, Qld.

This award recognises Sharon’s remarkable efforts in developing a mobile disability and diversity awareness program which travels to regional and rural communities educating people about difference.

community - organisation award

Awarded to the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) of West End, Qld.

This award recognises the efforts of this independent not-for-profit organisation specialising in refugee and migration law.

literature non-fiction award

Awarded to Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard for 
Human Rights Overboard: Seeking asylum in Australia.

This award recognises this clearly and comprehensively presented book covering Australia’s immigration detention regime and refugee policy.

radio award

Awarded to Damien Carrick and Anita Barraud, The Law Report, ABC Radio National.

This award recognises this special three-part series which provided a comprehensive picture of the real life impact of the Northern Territory Intervention.

television award

Awarded to Quentin McDermott, Steve Taylor and Stephen Skinner, for In My Shoes, ABC TV, Four Corners.

This award recognises this highly emotive piece which delved into the often difficult and desperate world of family carers.

print media award

Awarded to Kirstie Parker, Editor of the Koori Mail, for the National Apology: commemorative lift out.

This award recognises this enduring record of a momentous event in an edition full of images, text of speeches and colourful quotes.

Other photos from the event

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