10 December 2007

Dr Jamal Rifi wins Community (Individual) category
at the 2007 Human Rights Awards

The 2007 Human Rights Community (Individual) Award has been presented to Dr Jamal Rifi.

The award was accepted by Dr Rifi 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.

Dr Rifi is a GP, an active community volunteer and President of the Lakemba Sports and Recreation Club. Under his Presidency, the club has provided disadvantaged community members with equal opportunity to participate in affordable sporting activities - and membership has grown from 100 members in 2003 to over 600 in 2007. He has seen the club become the base for community meetings (including the women’s group for Islamic studies and fitness and senior citizens social group evenings). He has also mounted innovative projects such as training 22 young Muslim people to become surf lifesavers in the wake of the Cronulla riots.

Dr Rifi has donated his time to many community and government agencies, contributing expertise to advisory committees such as the Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities and the National Action Plan to Build on Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security. He is also a founding member of Muslim Doctors Against Violence and the Muslim Christian Friendship Society.

The judges felt that the Community (Individual) Award should go to Dr Rifi because of his deeply-felt commitment to achieving practical outcomes for community harmony in a number of different ways, particularly through sport.

The achievements of Ms Pat Rix were recognised by the judges as highly commended. Ms Rix is the founder of Tutti Ensemble, an amalgam of enthusiastic community members, professional artists and people with an intellectual disability. It has evolved over 10 years from a community support program to becoming a multi-faceted performing and visual arts entity, with a rapidly expanding national and international profile. With the success of Tutti, Ms Rix has been invited to give keynote addresses at conferences and forums, and has been engaged by Australian and overseas disability and arts organisations for her skills and advice.

The judges were moved by Ms Rix’s hard work in promoting equal opportunity and changing wider community attitudes toward people with disability, as well as by the way Tutti Ensemble has opened up many opportunities for them.

Other awards presented at the ceremony today are for achievements in Law, Arts Non-Fiction, Television, Print Media, Radio and Community (Organisation) Awards and the prestigious Human Rights Medal. For more information see www.humanrights.gov.au/about/hr_awards

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