A medical student from The University of Western Australia has been awarded The Young People's Human Rights Medal for 2009.
Twenty-two year-old Vinay Menon from Applecross has been awarded the prestigious national medal in recognition of his voluntary advocacy work with refugees, Indigenous communities and children living with a disability.
Human Rights Commission President Cathy Branson QC said the judges had a difficult task in deciding a winner for the Young People's Medal, with every nomination chronicling worthy and admirable feats.
"In the end, the judges were particularly impressed with Vinay's passionate human rights advocacy, evident since the age of 15, and the recognition of his commitment reflected in his appointment as National Youth Representative of the Australian Red Cross," Commissioner Branson said.
A co-founder of the World Aware program, working to help people from refugee backgrounds, Vinay's address to the Human Rights Awards audience, including the Attorney General, was about Aboriginal disadvantage in Australia.
"On the one hand, you always feel uncomfortable accepting an award like this. It's never an individual effort and I am lucky to have worked with an awesome team at the Red Cross. On other hand, it's good to be able to raise these issues at this level," he said.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson congratulated Vinay Menon and commended his humanitarian efforts.
"Vinay is an excellent Ambassador for Australian youth who is able to represent at the highest level the human rights views of young people from around the world," Professor Robson said.
The Young People's Human Rights Medal was sponsored by the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Vinay Menon (+61 4) 11 604 721
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716