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Amnesty appoints leading Indigenous Activist

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Prominent Indigenous rights activist Lidia Thorpe has been appointed Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Rights Lead.

Thorpe takes up the position vacated by Tammy Solonec who takes up the position of Systemic Advocacy Coordinator with the Kimberley Community Legal Service, based in Broome, Western Australia.

Thorpe is a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman and one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal advocates, commentators and leaders with experience spanning three decades. She was the first Aboriginal woman elected in Victoria – as the member for Northcote in the Victorian lower house from 2017 – 2018 and has an impressive working history including the Chair of the Victorian NAIDOC Committee, Facilitator of Victoria’s Grandmothers Against Removal, advisor for Victorian local government and project manager with the East Gippsland Shire Council, where she addressed disadvantage through the Advancing Country Towns Project. Lidia’s recently worked with the Australian Conservation Foundation to decolonise the environment movement and build solidarity, as well as working with Environment Victoria on Coal and community and OurWatch on Intersectionality.

Tammy Solonec said although the decision to take up the new role was a difficult one, she was comforted in handing the reins over to someone of Thorpe’s calibre.

“Lidia is an exceptional and inspirational leader who will continue the vital work Amnesty does with Indigenous Peoples on the fundamental human rights we all deserve, including carrying on the vital work to raise the age of criminal responsibility,” she said.  “I have absolutely adored working for Amnesty and the incredible and passionate people I have been honoured to work with. I have not made this decision lightly. It is because I want to have the opportunity to live and work on my country, help my people and learn more about my culture, language and community in the Kimberley.”

Thorpe said she looked forward to continuing Amnesty’s Indigenous Rights work.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Amnesty and continuing the fight for Indigenous human rights in this country, including climate justice for our people. Since invasion, Indigenous human rights have been violated, it’s an ongoing struggle for my people, but with organisations like Amnesty we have the opportunity for truth telling and solidarity,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe will be based in Amnesty International Melbourne Action Centre.

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