2005 Human Rights Medal awarded to disability rights quiet achiever Kevin Cocks

9 December 2005

2005 Human Rights Medal awarded to disability rights quiet achiever Kevin Cocks

A quietly-spoken and articulate advocate for human rights, described as the absolute epitome of the quiet achiever, has been named the winner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity's annual Human Rights Medal.

Queensland-based Kevin Cocks has had a lifelong interest in social justice issues. He has been a member of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) since its inception in 1988 and has been its Director since 1998. He has shown a great capacity to bridge the gap between government, the private sector and people with a disability.

His work has ranged across so many areas - from building access, transport, consumer health, universal housing design and the criminal justice system, to exposing abuse and neglect of people with a disability and education about Indigenous people with a disability.

Cocks' lifelong dedication to disability rights made a deep impression on the judges. They said that he had overcome incredible personal issues throughout his life. He carried himself with dignity and treated others with great respect. A passionate advocate who firmly maintains his position in the face of opposition, he consults widely with disability interest groups and with the broader community.

His involvement in a landmark 1994 case that found the Building Code of Australia incompatible with the Disability Discrimination Act made his name as a disability advocate, but his long-term commitment to human rights made him the ideal candidate for the Human Rights Medal.

The judges highly commended David Vadiveloo for the 2005 Human Rights Medal - David was also a winner of this year's Community (Individual) Award.

The judges commended Vadiveloo for his community development work in central Australian Indigenous communities. They said his work was very much at the grass roots level and he had an amazing impact on the lives of young Aboriginal people in the area.

Awards were presented in six other categories - Law (sponsored by the Law Council of Australia), Community, Arts Non-Fiction, Print Media, Television and Radio (sponsored by SBS Radio). For full details go to www.humanrights.gov.au/hr_awards/

Media contact: Paul Oliver 02 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347

Last updated 9 December 2005.