Armidale Regional Council wins national Human Rights Award

Armidale Regional Council, in northwestern NSW, has won the Government category at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Awards for its efforts in helping Ezidi refugees settle in the area.

Judges said the council was nominated for championing the integration and wellbeing of its new residents in ways that were proactive, innovative and culturally sensitive, including initiatives such as volunteering opportunities.

Council has worked with Settlement Services International to relocate more than 450 Ezidi people from Syria and northern Iraq since mid-2018, with about another 380 expected to arrive in the next financial year.

“That number has already risen to around 600 people,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.

“Their arrival in Armidale has further enhanced the city’s vast multiculturalism, which is a source of great pride for our region, and is boosted by the large number of international students at the Armidale-based University of New England.

“Similarly, it fills me with pride to be Mayor of a community that consistently proves itself to be very welcoming and supportive.”

Human rights advocate Rosemary Kayess received the 2019 Human Rights Medal for her efforts to improve the lives of disabled people in Australia and overseas.

Among her achievements was contributing to drafting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, that Australia has ratified.