NRL star Johnathan Thurston wins human rights award in eventful ceremony

Rugby league star Johnathan Thurston has teared up after being awarded a human rights medal at a formal ceremony in Sydney.

Thurston on Friday received the Australian Human Rights Commission medal in recognition of his ongoing commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Thurston has championed indigenous education and accommodation through the Deadly Kindies and NRL Cowboys House programs. The North Queensland co-captain wiped away tears on stage while declaring he was “truly humbled” to receive the award.

“This far outweighs what I’ve achieved on the field,” Thurston said.

“In rugby league, players come and go, I want to make sure my culture is around for thousands of years like it has been.”

The Cowboys House ambassador – a home for 50 indigenous students from remote North Queensland – accepted the medal with one of the students on stage.

“Even though we have come a long way with education and certainly closing the gap, we still have a long way to go,” Thurston said.

“The key is in education and making sure the young kids are getting the best access to medical services and education.”

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis congratulated Thurston on his achievements and the work of all award finalists.

“This is a very important day for human rights across the world but especially important for human rights in Australia,” Mr Brandis said.

The commission’s annual Human Rights Awards recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in protecting human rights and freedoms in Australia.

Some people in attendance stood in protest against Mr Brandis during his speech over the federal government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

“We stand against violence and abuse, inside and outside our borders,” said End Rape on Campus ambassador Anna Hush.

“It was amazing to see others stand up in solidarity and it shows that Australians care deeply about the human rights of asylum seekers.”

End Rape on Campus was nominated for a community organisation award for its work in ending sexual violence in universities and residential colleges. The award went to Blind Citizens Australia, a peak advocacy body for blind and vision-impaired Australians.

The media award went to Behind the Wire for its podcast “The Messenger” and “They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention”.

The 2017 Human Rights Awards proved full of surprises when Australian Disability Discrimination commissioner Alastair McEwin proposed to his same-sex partner in the US via FaceTime on stage. Wow! @almcewinddc just asked his partner in US over FaceTime: “Will you marry me?”. The crowd at #HRA2017 goes OFF! pic.twitter南京夜网/nVxkvWMvtg??? Prof Andrew Lynch (@AndrewLynchUNSW) December 8, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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