SYDNEY: The recent passing of Mr. Peter Grogan on 11 November 2012, is a great loss to a wide network of friends, colleagues and professionals spanning many communities, including the Australian legal community, the Tibetan community in Australia and beyond. A thanksgiving service was held for Mr. Grogan at St Swithun’s Anglican Church in Pymble on 16 November.
A former barrister since 1961, Mr. Grogan became Judge of the NSW District Court in 1989. He had been interested in human rights affairs both domestically and internationally, particularly with respect to Tibet. On becoming a judge, Peter once stated, “it became more difficult to be as active in some ways, except in respect of certain activities,” adding his professional practice was “something done in conjunction with my interest in human rights.”
Since 1956, Peter had been involved with The International Commission of Jurists. Founded in Geneva in 1952, The ICJ is one of the oldest human rights organisations in the world, working heavily in international standard setting. A Tibet Committee of the Australian Section (AICJ) was formed under the chairmanship of Mr. Grogan in 1958. In 1959, ICJ published the landmark report The Question of Tibet and the Rule of Law, which considered violations of human rights by the People’s Republic of China. It drew the world’s attention to the situation in Tibet following the Chinese invasion in 1950, followed by the reports Tibet and the Chinese People’s Republic in 1960 and Tibet: Human Rights and the Rule of Law in 1997.
There has been a close relationship between His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and members of the Australian Section of ICJ. In a letter dated 15 February 1989 to The Hon. Justice Michael Kirby, HH the Dalai Lama wrote, “As for Mr. and Mrs. Grogan, our gratitude and the concern and devotion for the Tibetan cause, is beyond limit.” The Dalai Lama said the initial ICJ report was one of the first efforts of an international organization to draw the tragedy of the Tibetan people to international attention. Mr. Grogan was the honorary assistant Secretary General of ICJ in 1956 and President of the NSW branch of the AICJ. He remained on the Council of the ICJ up until his passing. In the lead up to a major conference in London in 1993, and attended by international lawyers, Peter was Chairman of the Australian Working Group Committee, which was concerned with Tibet’s self-determination issues.
In 1956, Peter wrote to The Sydney Morning Herald advocating a national Bill of Rights. From 2005-2008, he served as the Chancellor of the Anglican Sydney Diocese and besides holding degrees in Arts, Law and Economics, on his retirement, Peter spent a year studying at Moore Theological College (Dip B&M) and with great spirit in 2008—competed in the World Masters Games in swimming. Peter is survived by his wife Mrs. Valerie Grogan AM, and by his daughter Amanda and grandchildren. Tibet Information Office expresses deepest condolences for the loss of a dear friend, extending respect for Mr. Grogan’s unwavering commitment, advocating the interests of the Tibetan people throughout his lifetime.
Report filed by Karen Collier for Tibet Information Office:
Tibet News, Vol. 19. No. 4. October – December, 2012. p.3.