12 May 2012

Amnesty gives human-rights award to Keith Locke

9:30 pm on 12 May 2012

The former Green Party MP Keith Locke has been presented with Amnesty International Aotearoa's Human Rights Defender Award.

In a ceremony at the Human Rights Commission in Auckland on Saturday night, the award was presented to Mr Locke for promoting and protecting human rights in New Zealand and around the world.

Amnesty deputy director Rebecca Emery says he has been a watchdog in the areas of search and surveillance and refugee issues, including his campaign to help the Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui stay in the country.

"When we at Amnesty speak to communities or people here in New Zealand who have also sought our advice and help," Ms Emery says, "Keith's name is often mentioned as someone who has unfailingly assisted them."

Mr Locke says he is humbled by the honour, which he calls the "highest award I've achieved in my life because it's from people I respect so much".

The nominees included journalist Jon Stephenson, former chief human-rights commissioner Rosslyn Noonan and documentary film-makers Annie Goldson and Rob Hamill.