14 August 2000

Human Rights Commissioner's term ends

Mr Chris Sidoti's five-year term as Federal Human Rights Commissioner concluded yesterday.

President of the Commission, Professor Alice Tay, pays tribute to the work of Chris Sidoti, whose work in various capacities at the Commission spanned many years.

Mr Sidoti originally joined the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission as its Foundation Secretary in 1987. He played a key role in the homeless children's inquiry and inquiries into racist violence, the Toomelah Aboriginal community, mental illness and sex discrimination. Following this period with the Commission he was appointed a Commissioner to the Australian Law Reform Commission and in 1995 Federal Human Rights Commissioner.

"Chris' deep commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights has been a hallmark of his term as Human Rights Commissioner," Professor Tay said.

"He was closely involved in the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children From Their Families and more recently conducted a national inquiry into education and human rights as they affect people in rural and remote Australia."

Concern for the rights of young people in particular has been a focus of Chris' term. He worked on a joint inquiry with the Australian Law Reform Commission on Seen and Heard which assessed the rights of young people in their relationship with the law and legal processes."

"Other areas of particular concern have been age discrimination, religious freedom, rights of gay and lesbian people and the rights of refugees and asylum seekers."

"Chris has also been very active in strengthening the relationships between national human rights institutions especially in the Asia Pacific Region and has been the driving force behind the establishment of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions."

Mr Sidoti said that he was privileged to have served as Human Rights Commissioner during such a difficult period for human rights in Australia.

Contact: Margie Cook on 0418 637 230 or Janine MacDonald on 0412 783 631

© Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Last updated 2 December 2001.
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