Human Rights Award in memory of Wallenberg

September 6, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced the establishment of an annual NSW Human Rights Award, to recognise an individual’s extraordinary efforts in the human rights arena.

 

Premier Barry O’Farrell

“It is important the NSW Government pays tribute to a person who has made lasting and meaningful contributions to the advancement of human rights,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“The recipient of the award will become the NSW Human Rights Ambassador for 12 months, giving them an opportunity to promote human rights issues.
“The winner of the award will also be presented with a specially struck medal and a cash prize.”

Announcing the award at an event in the NSW Parliament to mark the centenary of Wallenberg’s birth, Premier O’Farrell spoke of  “his outstanding respect for human rights and his amazing moral courage in the face of unimaginable horror and evil…carried out at great risk to his own personal safety and even today we still dont know the real truth behind his own fate. He used his freedom and gave his life to save and preserve the life of countless others”.
The NSW Human Rights Award will be presented to an individual from Australia or internationally whose life and work has made significant contributions to:

  •          The advocacy, promotion and advancement of human rights locally, nationally or internationally
  •          Philosophy, language and practice in the area of human rights

The Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello said the award is being established in memory of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who single- handedly saved tens-of-thousands of lives during the Holocaust. 
“Raoul Wallenberg was an extraordinary individual and on the centenary of his birth it is fitting we honour his exemplary life with this award,” Mr Dominello said. 
“The award is also an important opportunity to recognise and celebrate those in our society who go above and beyond to advocate justice, dignity and a fair go for all.” 
The award will be judged by a panel of eminent members of the NSW community. The inaugural prize will be presented this time next year.

He acknowledged “the great efforts of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies in ensuring that in this diverse multicultural society, we work to maintain harmony” and also the work of the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Returning to the work of Wallenberg, the Premier added: “I think it is fitting we should honour his sacrifice and his example and encourage others to follow.”

The centenary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth was commemorated in the NSW State parliament. The Swedish diplomat, based in Budapest during WWII, is accredited with saving more than 100,000 Jewish lives.

Wallenberg left his office on a business appointment and never returned. He was reportedly captured by the Soviets.

A memorial to his deeds and memory stands in Woollahra where Queen St meets Edgecliff Rd.

It is usually adorned with floral bouquets.

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