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Human Rights Awards

A group of people in front of a brick wall smiling. Human Rights Award logo on a blue background.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2022 Human Rights Awards and Oration. 
Click here to book now!  

The Commission is delighted to be presenting the awards at an in-person event for the first time in three years. It will be held on Friday December 9 at the University of Technology, Sydney. The speaker for the 2022 Human Rights Oration is Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO.

Every year the Commission holds the Human Rights Awards to celebrate human rights achievements. It is a chance to acknowledge, congratulate and share the important work of organisations, businesses, and individuals across the nation.

The Commission is proud to announce that the Human Rights Awards will be proceeding in 2022 as an in-person event for the first time since 2019. This year’s event will include four award categories: 

  • Human Rights Medal  
  • Young People’s award 
  • Community award  
  • Law award 

The finalists in each category have been announced - see the full list below.   

Winners will be announced at a function in Sydney on Friday December 9.

Can't join us in person?

For those who can’t attend the event in Sydney, we’ll be broadcasting a FREE live stream of the Awards via Zoom. The live stream will have live captioning and Auslan interpretation. REGISTER NOW:

Make sure you follow us on follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay in the loop about nominations, the judging process, and the awards event.  


The event is sponsored by LexisNexis, the UTS Centre for Social Justice & Inclusion and PwC Australia

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     Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion, UTS logo

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  • About the finalists

    We're excited to announce 17 finalists have been chosen across four categories in the 2022 Human Rights Awards, and award recipients will be announced at the event on Friday 9 December. The finalists have made exceptional contributions, in a wide range of fields, to improve human rights in Australia. 

    Human Rights Medal 

    A headshot of Renee Dixson


    Renee Dixson

    Renee Dixson is an emerging academic and human rights advocate who builds bridges and make a systematic change to support LGBTIQ+ displaced people, including through leading the non-for-profit Forcibly Displaced People Network, the first Australian LGBTIQ+ refugee-led organisation. Read more 

    A headshot photo of Dr Cassandra Goldie


    Dr Cassandra Goldie 

    Cassandra has championed the interests of people experiencing poverty and inequality, and civil society generally, in major national and international processes, most recently through her work as CEO of Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and Co-Director of the ACOSS and UNSW Sydney Poverty and Inequality Partnership.  Read more

    A headshot of Dr Dinesh Palipana


    Dr Dinesh Palipana 

    Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland, and the first visiting quadriplegic medical student at Harvard. Dinesh is a doctor, lawyer, disability advocate, senior lecturer and researcher. He is a co-founder of Doctors with Disabilities Australia, and advocated for disability rights through COVID-19. Read more

    Mahboba Rawi and Nawid Cina 

    Following personal tragedy, Mahboba dedicated her life to helping others through Mahboba’s Promise. Together with her son, Nawid, they have worked tirelessly to look after Afghanistan’s vulnerable orphans, establish schools, fund health care services, and create vocational programs to enable the vulnerable to be self-sufficient.  Read more

    A headshot photo of Latoya Aroha Rule


    Latoya Aroha Rule 

    Latoya Aroha Rule is a Takatāpui (Queer), First Nations person residing on Gadigal Land, Sydney. They are a Research Associate & PhD Candidate at Jumbunna Institute, UTS. They played an integral role in launching the National Ban Spit Hoods Coalition in 2022, and will soon launch the podcast ‘Blak Space’ that reckons with state violence. Read more

    Young People's Award

    A photo of the backs of two children who are embracing

    Simon and Elke 

    Sibling child-survivors of indictable family violence, Simon and Elke advocate for, and support, family violence child-survivors to be seen, heard, and supported as victims in their own right. Through their public advocacy in the press, and with Family Violence Sector bodies, Simon and Elke seek to protect and promote the human rights of children. 

    A headshot of Caroline Cecile Fletcher


    Caroline Cecile Fletcher 

    As a result of her own journey in the care system, Caroline is a strong advocate for children and young people living in out-of-home care. She recently participated in an online podcast with Bravehearts about child safe organisations, was a panel member for the Queensland Mental Health Commission's Shifting Minds launch and was a Youth Researcher for Rights, Voices, Stories: Our Rights Matter. Read more

    A headshot


    Ameya Jaurigue 

    Ameya is involved with a number of organisations including Bravehearts, the Queensland Family and Child Commission and the Young Women’s Advisory Group under Equal Rights Alliance. Ameya aims to create intersectional solutions and dreams of a future in which equality and removal of institutional and systemic oppression and challenges can be achieved for all. Read more


    Zhanae Kayann Dodd 

    Zhanae is a proud Ghungalu, Birri, Widi and Kaanju woman from Central Queensland. She is  a case manager, business owner, uni student and board member. Zhanae is passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocacy, strengthening Australia’s relationships within the Pacific and regenerative agriculture and caring for country.  Read more

    Law Award 


    Hugh de Kretser 

    For over two decades, Hugh de Kretser has advocated for positive change for people and communities whose human rights are at risk. He is currently the CEO of the Yoorrook Justice Commission and previously led the Human Rights Law Centre and the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres. Read more 


    HIV/AIDS Legal Centre 

    The HIV/AIDS Legal Centre (HALC) is the only free, full-time specialist community legal centre of its kind in Australia. Since 1992 the centre has provided provide free and comprehensive legal assistance to people with HIV or hepatitis-related legal matters. They also undertake Community Legal education and provide guides on HIV and the law. Read more


    Scientia Professor Jane McAdam 

    Scientia Professor Jane McAdam AO is Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW Sydney. She is internationally renowned for her scholarship on forced migration, and particularly her leadership on legal responses to climate-related displacement.  Read more


    Women’s Legal Service - First Nations Team 

    WLSNSW is a community legal centre for women in NSW. The First Nations Women’s Legal Program provides culturally safe access to WLSNSW. The team recently applied to the European Court of Human Rights in support of an Aboriginal woman whose former partner was keeping their daughter in Norway.  Read more

    Community Award


    Hotel Etico

    Hotel Etico is Australia’s first social enterprise hotel, employing and training young people with disability. Their mission is to change people’s perceptions and disrupt the approach to disability employment in Australia. Hotel Etico is based in the Blue Mountains and plans to be in every Australian state and territory in the next 10 years. Read more


    Success Works 

    Megan Etheridge and Eleni Psillakis (pictured) started Success Works in 2019 – first a program of Dress for Success, it later became an incorporated association. Through Dress for Success, Megan introduced a dressing program into Sydney prisons in 2010 and has continued her work in the criminal justice system. Eleni works closely with clients supporting them into employment with partner employers. Read more


    Home to Bilo

    Home to Bilo is a grassroots campaign that began in March 2018 in the rural town of Biloela, Queensland, after the Nadesalingams, a family of Tamil asylum seekers, were taken into immigration detention in a dawn raid.  The group advocated for more than four years for the return of Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharnicaa to their home in Biloela. The family returned to Biloela in June.  Read more


    Clothing the Gaps

    Clothing The Gaps is an Aboriginal Social Enterprise and B-Corp co-founded by Laura Thompson (Gunditjmara) and Sarah Sheridan (non-Indigenous) that works to unite Aboriginal and non-Indigenous people through fashion and cause. This commitment was on full display with their campaign to #FreeTheFlag. Read more

  • About the Awards

    The Human Rights Awards were first established by the Commission (then known as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) in 1987, to recognise the contributions of individuals across the nation who made it their life’s mission to champion human rights, social justice, and equality for all.

    More than 33 years later, the Human Rights Awards recognise the work of human rights advocates across Australia, and to champion the work of hundreds of people across a variety of sectors and endeavours. 

    This year, the Commission has adapted award categories to better align with Australia’s ever-changing human rights landscape. What originated as an evening to recognise human rights in film, television programs and literature works now spans across a broader field. The esteemed Human Rights Medal remains the only category from the inaugural Awards that is still awarded.

    The first Human Rights Medal winner was Indigenous activist Rose Colless OAM, who was acknowledged for her tireless work in drug and alcohol rehabilitation initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In the following years, the Human Rights Medal was awarded to other esteemed individuals including Fred Hollows, Peter Greste, Dorothy Hoddinott AO, Ian Thorpe, Jonathan Thurston, The Hon Peter McClellan AM QC and Chrissie Foster AM, Rosemary Kayess, and most recently, Professor Larissa Behrendt AO.

    The Human Rights Awards provide Australia with an opportunity to honour the unsung heroes of human rights. They shine a light on and promote the work of champions who often go unrecognised for their efforts in challenging, transforming the realisation of human rights in Australia.

  • Award Categories

    Human Rights Medal  
    Awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection, and advancement of human rights in Australia. 

    Young People’s Award
    Awarded to an individual who is under the age of 25 years (on 31 July 2022) and has made an outstanding contribution to advancing human rights in Australia.  

    Community Organisation Award  
    Awarded to recognise the contribution of an individual or organisation with a proven track record in promoting and advancing human rights in the Australian community. 

    Law award 
    Awarded to recognise the contribution of a person or organisation within the field of law to the advancement and protection of human rights in Australia. 

  • Nomination criteria

    In choosing the recipients of the Human Rights Awards categories, consideration is given to the nominee’s achievements in the year prior to receiving the award, as well as their ongoing contribution to the advancement of human rights.

    An individual, organisation or community group need only be nominated once to be considered. The number of nominations received per nominee carries no weight in the judging process.

    To be eligible for nomination, entrants must have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights IN AUSTRALIA in at least one of the following areas, and been active in this area between August 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022:

    • Taking action to overcome discrimination or infringements of human rights within Australia;
    • Encouraging greater harmony between people of different race, sex, sexuality, age or ethnic origin within Australia;
    • Enhancing the rights of Indigenous Australians;
    • Promoting equal opportunity for people with a disability in Australia; or
    • Increasing awareness of issues of injustice or inequality in Australia.

    Eligibility criteria

    • Nominees must be a lawful resident of Australia
    • Self-nominations are accepted
    • Unsuccessful nominations may be re-nominated in subsequent years

    Category criteria

    • Nominations under the age of 25 (as of July 31, 2022) will be considered for the Young People’s Award
    • Nominators can put forward nominations across all three categories

    Judging criteria

    Selection panels will consider the following when assessing and comparing nominations against the above criteria:

    • Does the nominee contribute to the advancement of human rights issues in Australia?
    • Does the entry provide specific examples of their contribution?
    • Has the nominee been a leader in this area of work in their community?
    • Has the nominee raised community awareness of the issue?
    • Has the nominee been able to provide a network of support for the issue?
    • What was the outcome of the nominee’s contribution?
    • How effective was the outcome?
    • Did the nominee overcome any obstacles to achieve their outcome?
  • Key dates

    AUGUST 2022
    The Australian Human Rights Commission calls on individuals, community groups, businesses, and organisations to nominate for a Human Rights Award. 

    Nominations are open for four weeks, whereby the public can submit nominations for individuals or groups that meet the selection criteria.

    Once nominations close, they are categorised and reviewed by a judging panel. An expert selection panel will select the finalists and winner in each award category. 

    All nominators will be notified by email if the nomination they put forward has been selected as a 2021 Human Rights Awards finalist. All finalists will be notified.

    NOVEMBER 2022
    Finalists will be announced across the Commission’s social media platforms. Make sure you are following the Commission on  Twitter Facebook, and  Instagram.

    The winner of the Human Rights Medal, the Young People’s Medal, the Community Human Rights Award, and the Law Award will be announced at an in-person event in Sydney.  

  • Sponsor: LexisNexis

    Lexis Nexis logo

    Our core belief, central premise and purpose is to uphold the Rule of Law which fundamentally states that no one is above the law.

    We provide legal content and technology solutions to the legal profession, LexisNexis supports the Rule of Law and ensures that the administration of justice is maintained.

    The Rule of Law is the unifying purpose behind our work to serve customers and their communities. By upholding the Rule of Law, we support our government and ensure its officials and agents are accountable under the law.

    We ensure laws are clear, publicised, stable and fair and are an indispensable partner to legal and other professionals to ensure they have authoritative, accurate and comprehensive information. We at LexisNexis are committed to promoting the Rule of Law in a variety of ways, including by offering direct financial support and legal and technical advice to organisations that combat human trafficking and support victims of human trafficking. We pride ourselves at LexisNexis Australia at being the next generation Rule of Law.

  • Sponsor: UTS Centre for Social Justice & Inclusion

    The Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion is the gateway for partners to engage with the University of Technology, Sydney's resources and expertise to maximise social impact. The Centre works with community organisations, not-for-profits, social purpose businesses, and individuals.

    It drives the university's social impact agenda by:

    • Catalysing and rewarding activities with social impact
    • Connecting partners around social justice initiatives
    • Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture
    • Delivering strategic and collaborative programs
    • Leading and evaluating whole-of-university strategies and systems



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