Celebrated academic, author and Indigenous rights activist Larissa Behrendt has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Human Rights Medal.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual award ceremony recognises the work of individuals and organisations across the country who have championed human rights, social justice and equality.

This year the awards were divided into three categories: the Human Rights medal, the Young People’s medal and the Community Human Rights Champion.

Eualeyai and Kamilaroi woman Professor Larissa Behrendt, a former NAIDOC person of the year, was recognised for her position at the “forefront of national discussion” in the fields of Indigenous justice, law, advocacy and the performing arts.

Professor Behrendt is a board member of the National Justice Project, which advocates for a more fair and equitable justice system.

National Justice Project founder and principal solicitor George Newhouse says “you couldn’t find a more deserving recipient.”

“She’s worked tirelessly for social justice over the years. I remember working closely with Larissa in relation to the Intervention, where Larissa was strident in her objections to the Howard government’s action in the Northern Territory.

But she’s a multi-dimensional person. She is involved in the creative arts, she’s written books, she’s a movie director, she’s held judicial positions.

Larissa is one of the most deserving recipients of this award and I think it’s a great honour.”