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Human Rights Heroes Campaign Finalists

Torres Strait 8
Human Rights Hero Finalist

The Torres Strait 8

The Torres Strait Islands are low-lying islands exposed to sea level rise impacts - they are among the most vulnerable regions to climate change in Australia. Increasing storms, heatwaves and erosion are threatening the Islanders way of life. A group of eight Torres Strait Islanders have taken a formal complaint against Australia to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations to protect their Indigenous heritage. The case is the first of its kind in the world.   

Zaki Haidari
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Zaki Haidari

Zaki Haidari is a refugee advocate from Afghanistan. After being targeted by the Taliban when he was 17-years-old, Zaki escaped to Australia. Just three years later, he won the NSW Government’s International Student of the Year Award in 2015. Despite being on a temporary protection visa himself, Zaki advocates for other refugees to be provided permanent protection visas in Australia, volunteering with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS). He is currently running 500 kilometres to fundraise for other refugees to be able to access legal support.   
Yasseen Musa
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Yasseen Musa

Yasseen Musa is an Eritrean community leader, footy coach, and volunteers with Africause to help run the Flemington homework club. When the North Melbourne and Flemington public housing towers were placed in ‘hard lockdown’ in July, Yasseen was one of the first community leaders on the scene, helping to translate information for the residents and advocating for them to receive culturally appropriate services and meals. He made a huge difference to many residents in the towers during a very stressful time.   
Corey Tutt, Deadly Science
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Corey Tutt, Deadly Science

Kamilaroi man Corey Tutt is an Indigenous mentor and passionate STEM champion. He is the founder of DeadlyScience, an initiative that provides science books and equipment to schools in remote areas in Australia.  In 2020, DeadlyScience also provided books and resources to schools on the South Coast of NSW that had been destroyed in the bush fires. Corey Tutt is also the 2020 NSW Young Australian of the Year.  
Ben Bjarnesen
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Ben Bjarnesen

Ben became an advocate for improved services for LGBTQ victims and survivors of domestic violence (DV) after discovering the gap in services himself when he experienced abuse within a same-sex relationship. In May 2020, Ben founded the inaugural LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day which aims to bring a greater awareness of domestic violence and abuse in these communities. He was inducted into the inaugural Queensland Government Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Honour Roll this year.  
Sikh Volunteers Australia
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Sikh Volunteers Australia

Sikh Volunteers Australia started the year by expanding their service, which provides free meals to people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne, to travel hundreds of kilometres delivering free meals for bushfire-stricken communities in regional Victoria. Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, they have also prepared and delivered 400 meals a day to people in need across Melbourne – totalling an astonishing 127,400 free meals (as of 26 November).  
Torres Strait 8
Human Rights Hero Finalist

The Torres Strait 8

The Torres Strait Islands are low-lying islands exposed to sea level rise impacts - they are among the most vulnerable regions to climate change in Australia. Increasing storms, heatwaves and erosion are threatening the Islanders way of life. A group of eight Torres Strait Islanders have taken a formal complaint against Australia to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations to protect their Indigenous heritage. The case is the first of its kind in the world.   
The NSW RFS Volunteers
Human Rights Hero Finalist

The NSW RFS Volunteers

In the summer of 2019/20, NSW experienced one of its most intense bush fire seasons on record. 25 people lost their lives, including 4 volunteer firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). RFS volunteers courageously battled the fires for months, working long hours in extremely dangerous conditions to keep us all safe. They saved many lives and homes. Their sacrifice, bravery and community spirit makes them human rights heroes.  
Addi Road
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Addi Road

Addi Road (Addison Road Community Organisation) is a not-for-profit in Sydney’s inner west that fights for social justice. Since the COVID-19 economic crisis hit, Addi Road has been operating an emergency Food Relief Hub to ensure international students, temporary visa holders and others with no access to social supports can access essential food items. Addi Road also provides boxes of groceries to hundreds of households across Sydney each week and operates two ‘Food Pantries’ for people on low incomes.  
Vivienne McKenzie, Regina McKenzie and Heather Stuart, Adnyamathanha women
Human Rights Hero Finalist

Vivienne McKenzie, Regina McKenzie and Heather Stuart, Adnyamathanha women

Vivienne, Regina and Heather fought a long battle to protect their community’s culture and oppose a nuclear waste facility being situated on their traditional lands in the Flinders Ranges. The Seven Sisters songline, one of the most significant creation tracks in Australia, runs near the site. In 2020 their tireless efforts succeeded, and a different site was selected. The women are now advocating to ensure Adnyamathanha people are consulted on matters related to their land during mining processes.