Ms Maha Krayem Abdo OAM, Executive Officer of the Muslim Women’s Association, has won this year’s NSW Human Rights Award.

The Minister for Citizenship and Communities Hon Victor Dominello presented the award at a ceremony held on 7 August at the NSW Parliament House.

“The award gives special recognition to a person who has made lasting and meaningful contributions to the advancement of human rights in NSW. Ms Krayem Abdo is a most deserving winner of this award” said Mr Dominello.

The judging panel found her to be a standout among a field of high-calibre candidates, commending her as a champion of multiculturalism and advocate for the elimination of racial and gender discrimination.

Ms Abdo is a renowned Muslim leader and mentor and has worked tirelessly over the past 25 years to empower young women and promote harmony between multicultural communities.

Ms Krayem Abdo, migrated to Australia from Lebanon during the 1960s, established the Muslim Women’s Support Centre, a refuge for women escaping family and domestic violence. In 2008 she was awarded an Order of Australia medal for her work in this field.

“She will serve as Human Rights Ambassador for 12 months and through the Community Relations Commission, the NSW Government is proud to support her work to promote human rights issues at events, schools and conferences,” Mr Dominello said.

During the ceremony Mr Dominello presented Ms Krayem Abdo with a specially-struck medal and a $5,000 cash prize.

This year’s judging panel consisted of Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Vic Alhadeff, CEO, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and Ainslie van Onselen, Chief of Staff, Australian Financial Services, Westpac Banking Corporation.

The award, now in its second year, was dedicated in memory of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust by providing protective passports and setting up safe houses.