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Human rights award finalists announced

Human rights award finalists announced

David Hicks' former lawyer, Stephen Kenny, is one of four finalists in the 2011 Australian Human Rights Commission's Human Rights Awards.Kenny, a practitioner with Adelaide firm Camatta Lempens,…

David Hicks' former lawyer, Stephen Kenny, is one of four finalists in the 2011 Australian Human Rights Commission's Human Rights Awards.

Kenny, a practitioner with Adelaide firm Camatta Lempens, has been recognised for his long-term work with the socially or economically disadvantaged.

He was nominated for the award by the Law Society of South Australia and the South Australian Bar Association.

The prize will be awarded to an individual or organisation with a proven track record in promoting and advancing human rights in Australia through the practice of law.

"Stephen has certainly done that," said Jan Martin, executive director of the Law Society. "His passion for helping those in the community less advantaged than others has always been a life-long goal and a hallmark of his legal practice."

Other finalists include the legal team of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, Allens Arthur Robinson, Debbie Mortimer SC and Richard Niall SC, which acted pro bono in two landmark High Court cases which have upheld human rights and the rule of law.

The cases included Plaintiff M61 v The Commonwealth & Ors (11 November 2010), where the team acted on behalf of two Sri Lankan asylum seekers who arrived by boat at Christmas Island and sought to claim refugee status, and Plaintiff M70 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (31 August 2011), where the team acted for two asylum seekers scheduled to be deported from Christmas Island to Malaysia for the processing of their refugee claims.

Dr Lawrence Alan Laikind, a vision impaired ex-dentist who has worked as a solicitor in the area of human rights and anti-discrimination since 1994, and Rowan Silva, who has had a long career working towards the promotion and advancement of human rights, are also finalists.

The awards will be presented in Sydney on 9 December 2011.

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