Queensland human rights advocate and barrister Stephen Keim SC has been awarded the2009 Human Rights Medal by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The medal was presented to Keim by Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland at a gala lunch held on Thursday at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney.
Throughout his career, Keim has been involved in many cases aimed at furthering the human rights of individuals and groups such as prisoners, refugees, people with disabilities and people experiencing discrimination, with much of this work often undertaken on a pro bono basis. Perhaps most notably, in 2007 he secured the release and clearance of Dr Mohammad Haneef.
A highly commended award was also presented to Professor Paul Barrett, founder of Pathways Health and Research Centre. Barrett was recognised for her efforts in establishing the "Friend's for Life" program, which assists with the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression in Children.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Vinay Menon from Western Australia was awarded the Young People's Human Rights Medal.
Menon was recognised for his voluntary advocacy work with refugees, indigenous communities and children living with disabilities, work which he has been involved in since age 15.
A highly commended award was also presented to 21-year-old Samah Hadid from Greenacre, NSW, for her work with a youth advisory committee and efforts with young people dealing with social justice issues and youth engagement programs.
Human Rights awards were also presented in several categories:
Law Award: Gregory McIntyre SC from Western Australia for his efforts in promoting human rights through the practice of law, including conducting the case of Mabo v Queensland for 10 years including the conduct of Mabo (1) and appearing as counsel for Eddie Mabo in Mabo (No 2) in which the High Court held that the Meriam people had native title.
- Highly commended awarded to the Human Rights Law Resource Centre in Melbourne.
Literature Non-Fiction Award: Margot O'Neill for Blind Conscience
Radio Award: Ian Townsend of Backyard Briefing, ABC Radio National, for "Crisis Children"
- Highly commended to Kristi Melville of 360˚, ABC Radio National, for "Losing Erin"
Television Award: Debbie Whitmont, Michael Doyle, Kate Wild and Anne Connolly of Four Corners, ABC Television, for "Going Back to Lajamanu"
- Highly commended award to Stewart Carter of People Pictures, for "Kid's Business"
Print Media Award: Ruth Pollard of The Sydney Morning Herald, for "Dying to be Heard"
Community Award (Organisation): ACON, Australia's largest community-based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender health and HIV/AIDS organisation.
- Highly commended award to Accessible Arts
Community Award (Individual): Kate Locke of NSW, for her efforts in increasing awareness and overcoming discrimination against the deaf and hearing impaired
- Highly commended Doreen Green of Western Australia for her campaign with the Halls Creek Alcohol Management Group for alcohol restrictions in the Halls Creek community.