It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Sue Beecher, a dear partner, friend, and supporter of Human Rights Watch in Australia, who passed away on April 16, 2020 in Melbourne. Sue was deeply passionate about helping people and worked her entire life to ensure that those who live on the margins of society are heard and protected.
Sue had a passion for social justice and human rights philanthropy. She worked as philanthropy services manager at Perpetual Limited, senior advisor at Wendy Brooks and Partners, and philanthropy manager at the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) National Voice for our Children, an organization that represents the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait families. Sue also served on a number of boards, including Thrive Refugee Enterprise, The Stars Foundation, Kids First Australia, and the Indigenous Affinity group of Philanthropy Australia.
Sue became involved with Human Rights Watch in 2014, soon after we established our Australia office. She was an active member of our Melbourne Committee and was keenly aware of the need to communicate the value of human rights to the broadest audience possible. Sue made it her mission to include, connect, and welcome people into the Human Rights Watch community.
The Beecher home always felt like Human Rights Watch’s Melbourne home – Sue hosted numerous events and staff, connecting us to partners and people who care about human rights. She was an incredibly caring friend, like a mother to many of our staff, and a trusted confidant to our committee members and supporters.
Sue was especially passionate about disability rights and Indigenous rights, and helped to support Human Rights Watch’s research on abuses against prisoners with disabilities in prisons across Australia, a large number of whom are Indigenous Australians. She was always positive and thinking how she could help others, and was even working to fundraise for Human Rights Watch until days before her passing.
We will greatly miss Sue’s deep commitment to human rights and her natural ability to foster a strong sense of community amongst our staff and supporters. We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Eric, their children Kate, Joanna, Tom, and Sophie, and the entire Beecher family.