Amnesty International Honours Unique New Zealander
Amnesty International Honours a Unique New Zealander with a Genuine Dedication to Social Justice Causes
Keith Locke was tonight announced as the recipient of Amnesty International Aotearoa’s Human Rights Defender Award.
In a ceremony at the Human Rights Commission in Auckland the award was presented to the former Greens MP in recognition of a life dedicated to the promotion and protection of people’s human rights here in New Zealand and around the world.
“When we at Amnesty speak to communities or people here in New Zealand who have also sought our advice and help, Keith’s name is often mentioned as someone who has unfailingly assisted them,” said Rebecca Emery, Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
“Keith is truly a unique New Zealander who comes from a family that has shown a genuine dedication to social justice causes through generations, and for this reason, it is a pleasure to close our 50th birthday year by honouring him as a true expression of what it means to be a Human Rights Defender.”
"The award is emotional for me because it’s an award from my peers, said Keith.
"To me it's the highest award I've achieved in my life because it's from people I respect so much."
Keith acknowledged the other award nominees as they are all people he's worked alongside and has great respect for.
"I'm very humbled
for receiving this award and it will be treasured," said
Keith. “ Background
Keith Locke’s political journey has been a colourful one and he has been at the forefront of speaking up on numerous issues, which other MPs have shied away from, such as Tibet, East Timor, Sri Lanka, China and numerous issues in the Middle East.
“The high calibre and diverse range of nominations received this year is testament to the recognition that the defence of human rights in our part of the world is as crucial as it is to the rest of the world,” said Rebecca Emery.
The judging panel for the Award included Dr Judy MacGregor of the Human Rights Commission, Meg Poutasi of Pacific Cooperation Foundation and Rebecca Emery, Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
"Human Rights Defenders are vital in the current New Zealand fabric, it is they who help keep the government honest and give others a voice,” said Dr Judy MacGregor.