10 December 2007

2007 Human Rights Medal awarded to Jeremy Jones AM

The 2007 Human Rights Medal has been awarded to Mr Jeremy Jones AM.

The Medal was presented to Mr Jones by last year’s joint Medal-winner, Father Chris Riley AM, at the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Human Rights Medal and Awards ceremony at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney today.

Mr Jones is an advocate who has dedicated his life to promoting freedom from racial discrimination, persecution, harassment and freedom of religion. Over his 30 year career Mr Jones has tirelessly undertaken voluntary work within Indigenous, Jewish and Muslim communities as well as other minority groups. His commitment to human rights has seen him travel the world to speak publicly and to meet and work with others opposing racism. He has been the Co-Chair of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews since 2004, was the Australian delegate to the World Jewish Congress in 2006 and President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry from 2001-2004.

For more than 20 years Mr Jones has provided expert analysis and commentary to the national and international media on racism issues in Australia. In addition, he has given hundreds of lectures to schools, universities, service organisations and other forums, using education as a means of building tolerance.

In 2004, he was awarded the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Medal for his contribution to multiculturalism. In 2005, he was made a member of the Order of Australia. In 2006, he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

The judges decided the Human Rights Medal should go to Mr Jones because of his dedication and consistently outstanding achievements in the human rights arena over the last three decades. They noted that his cross faith work had been integral in building bridges between communities and minority groups throughout his career.

The achievements of Mr Mark Bin Bakar were recognised by the judges as highly commended. Through his radio broadcasting and volunteer work, Mr Bin Bakar has had a wide impact, working for betterment of Indigenous peoples in Australia, increasing cultural understanding, and educating people in remote areas about alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and health care. He has been committed to re-establishing the reconciliation process by producing, broadcasting, performing and touring as the character, ‘Mary G – Queen of the Kimberley’, who uses humour to poke fun at society and its stereotypes. He is 2007 NAIDOC Person of the Year and Western Australia’s Australian of the Year for 2008.

The judges felt Mr Bin Bakar has had an enormous impact around Australia, promoting greater harmony across the Indigenous community.

Human rights awards were also presented at the ceremony today for achievements in Law, Arts Non-Fiction, Television, Radio, Print Media and Community Awards for both organisations and individuals. For more information see www.humanrights.gov.au/about/hr_awards

Media contact:  Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529