A LOCAL community worker has been appointed to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).
Former Equality Commissioner, Paul Yam, who has worked with the Chinese community in and around the Craigavon area, was one of seven new Commissioners announced this week by Secretary of State, Owen Paterson.
Paul was born in Singapore and was educated in both Singapore and the UK.
He became a self-employed advertising photographer for seven years and during this time he began his work with the Chinese community, providing practical help and support along with voluntary work as a leader of a youth group for the wider community.
In 1998, Paul worked as a Community Development Worker for the Chinese Welfare Association in Craigavon.
He established the Wah Hep Chinese Community Association for Craigavon in 1999, which provides a range of local services to the Chinese community in the area and a year later he was formally appointed as director of the association.
He has helped Wah Hep establish a number of facilities such as a youth group, an after school club, a Chinese school, an adult English programme, the Wah Hep information drop-in centre and a multi-agency interpreting service.
His first major appointment came when he served as an Equality Commissioner from 2004 intil 2009 and he was also chair of Craigavon and Banbridge Community Forum during this period of time.
He has been a member of the Racial Equality Panel. Most recently, Paul was awarded an MBE in 2010 for his services to community relations work in Northern Ireland.
Owen Paterson said, “The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission plays an important role in protecting and promoting human rights in Northern Ireland.” “The new Chief Commissioner and seven new Commissioners bring with them skills, understanding and knowledge that will contribute greatly to the Commission’s work.” “I am confident that the new Chief Commissioner and Commissioners will help meet the range of challenges facing Northern Ireland in a way that commands support across the community.”
The Secretary of State also thanked the five outgoing Commissioners.
The NIHRC advises the Secretary of State, the Executive and the Assembly Committees of measures which ought to be taken for the protection of human rights.