Youth advocate shares human rights award with broadcaster

Well-known Sydney Catholic priest and social worker, Fr Chris Riley, has been awarded the Human Rights Medal by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, an award shared with ABC broadcaster, Phillip Adams.

Also taking out an award is the Edmund Rice Centre, which produced the influential Deported to Danger report on the plight of deported asylum seekers.

The citation says that the Sydney-based centre "has a long history fighting for the rights of Indigenous people and those involved in the horror of people trafficking."

Fr Riley, also based in Sydney, was recognised for his work rehabilitating young homeless and drug addicted people.

He founded the "Youth off the Streets" program more than a decade ago, according to the ABC.

Co-winner Phillip Adams, who is also a News Limited columnist, says Fr Riley deserves the accolades.

"There are so many people in Australia who do these great jobs but they tend to be unsung heroes, so let's sing about this hero," he said.

Mr Adams says he will use the award to highlight two issues he believes are evidence of eroding human rights.

"I will be citing the David Hicks problem, issue, as a result of getting this medal," he said.

"I think it's the most urgent symbolic crisis in human rights in Australia but of course our ongoing treatment of refugees is still a national and international scandal."

The awards were presented yesterday in a ceremony in Sydney.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission use the awards to promote human rights in Australia.

Phillip Adams, Catholic priest share human rights medal (ABC News, 7/12/06)
ERC Wins Human Rights Award (Edmund Rice Centre, 8/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission | HREOC Human Rights Awards 2006
Youth off the Streets
Edmund Rice Centre

Media violence desensitises young people, says youth advocate (CathNews, 3/11/06)
Queen's Honour recipient says street kids are his incentive (CathNews, 13/6/06)
Experts seek to curb 'national epidemic' of child abuse (CathNews, 8/11/05)

8 Dec 2006