In the year 2000, the Kingston Bahá'í community was instrumental in gathering together a committee from within the City of Kingston to raise public awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As it was, and still is, a small committee of 8 members the committee decided to focus on a public event each year as close to the actual anniversary, December 10th, as practicable. Kingston for Human Rights was very fortunate to have the support of our local Federal MP, Ann Corcoran, who presented the committee with an Australian flag which we use at each year's event. For the first 3 years St Augustine's Anglican Church provided both the meeting place for the committee meetings and the venue for the annual event, which was very gratefully acknowledged.
The only funding source the committee had to use was a small grant from the Kingston City Council. Then in 2004, thanks to the intervention of Cr. Bill Nixon, we were offered the use of a council function room, because after September 11, 2001 insurance was not affordable for the committee at the Church premises.
Kingston for Human Rights Inc., has been very fortunate in the support they have received from Kingston City Council and staff who liaise with us. The council does all our photocopying, and assists in the preparation of the meeting room and other items, including supply of the technical requirements for power point presentations.
Kingston for Human Rights became incorporated in 2007.
In 2009, the committee prepared and forwarded a submission to the National Consultative Committee regarding Australia having its own National Bill of Human Rights.
For the first ten years, Mr Dennis Cowden was Chairperson of the Committee and had chaired the function each year. However, due to his unexpected illness and death in June 2010, we were without a chairperson. Dr. Michael Pearson-Smith, our Vice Chairman stepped in to fill this position until our annual meeting in August 2010, when he was elected Chairperson. When Dr. Michael Pearson-Smith retired as Chairperson, Mrs Barbara Richardson assumed the role. Chairperson in 2017 and 2018 was Mr Ted Gibbs. In October 2018, Dr Geoff Cheong filled the role of Chairperson, Barbara Richardson filling the role of Vice Chairman. In 2020, Kerrie Devir assumed the role of Chairperson.
Mrs Florence Gibbs was secretary from inception in the year 2000, until 2014. In recognition for her community work, Mrs Florence Gibbs was awarded Kingston Citizen of the Year for 2009. Our secretary between 2015 and 2017 was Kathy McWilliams. In 2018, Philippa Rayment took the role of secretary. In 2019, the role of secretary was filled by Kathy McWilliams with assistance form Philippa Rayment. Our Treasurer from 2000 to 2018 was Ms. Lynette Atkins-Brandeggen. In 2019, Rashigheh Mozayan-Nejad took up the role of treasurer.
The committee has averaged 8 members since its inception and attendance at the annual function has been approximately 80‑100, except for 2017 when there were over 150 present.
In 2018, Florence Gibbs was appointed patron of Kingston for Human Rights, Inc.
Follow this link to see a list of our current Committee Office Bearers.