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NSW Human Rights Medal: Sean Stimson

NSW Human Rights Medal: Sean Stimson

Sean Stimson is a human rights lawyer and social justice campaigner. Since 2015, Sean has run the International Student Legal Service NSW (ISLS) at Redfern Legal Centre, the only free, state-wide advisory service for NSW’s 206,000 plus international students. Working with marginalised migrant communities, Sean has witnessed systemic exploitation of vulnerable people on a vast scale. Dedicated to creating real, lasting change, Sean’s work extends beyond his role as a lawyer: working as an educator, an awareness raiser, and a law reformer. He is acutely aware that the only real way to create an actual and lasting change is to stem the exploitation at a legislative level. Sean has established an early recognition program (ERP) within the practice, using its unique position of direct community engagement as a front-line provider to recognise emerging trends in the early stages. Early identification of trends allows for ISLS to undertake education and awareness campaigns, consider law reform and provide the most current legal advice possible to NSW’s international students.

Highly Commended: Rev Dr John Jegasothy

The Rev. John Jegasothy is a minister with the Uniting Church in Australia, currently serving the congregation of Rosebay – Vaucluse, and the Tamil congregation in Dulwich Hill. Rev Dr Jegasothy and his family are members of the Tamil ethnic group. Before coming to Australia in 1986, Rev Dr Jegasothy served as a superintendent minister at the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka, covering areas affected by ethnic violence against Tamils. He was heavily involved in the resettlement of internally displaced people and became a spokesperson for Tamils in open forums, making him a target for the armed forces and Sinhalese. In August 1986, Rev Dr Jegasothy and his family were granted Special Humanitarian Visas and settled in Australia. Since arriving in Australia, he has worked tirelessly to promote the welfare of people seeking asylum and refugees, especially those from the Tamil ethnic group fleeing the violence of war. He is also deeply involved in promoting cross cultural relationships and multiculturalism in Australia. Rev Dr Jegasothy has been a lifetime advocate for human rights. He says his greatest achievement is seeing the people he has been working with settling down.