The Australian Government Has to Respect the Rights of Indigenious People

10 Sep

 

An Al Jazeera Report On The Indigenious People in Australia (above YouTube Clip)


Amnesty International Australia has called on the Australian and Canadian governments to support the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was approved in June 2006 by the UN Human Rights Council but blocked by both and other governments in the UN General Assembly.

The Declaration , scheduled to be voted on 13 September at the UN Assembly, “recognises the wide range of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples which includes the right to unrestricted self-determination, an inalienable collective right to the ownership, use and control of lands, territories and other natural resources, their rights in terms of maintaining and developing their own political, religious, cultural and educational institutions along with the protection of their cultural and intellectual property.”

In Australia, the federal government’s moves earlier this year of “military intervention” in the Northern Territories has sparked widespread condemnation and outrage, particularly from the Indigenious community. The proposed measures include banning alcohol, hardcore pornography, welfare restrictions, increases in police numbers and compulsory health checks for Aboriginal children. Detractors lamented that the government is not doing enough in other more important sectors such as healthcare, youth services, education and basic housing.

Opposition Senator, Lyn Allison of the Australian Democrats highlighted in a press statement then that such “military activities” do not solve the problems on the long term. She also accused the Howard government for only implementing 2 out of 300 recommendations from the Little Children are Sacred and the Gordon Report.

It appears that the Indigenious People of Australia will not be “consulted” and sidelined once again even if there is a change of government. The Australian Labour Party leader, Kevin Rudd has proposed forming a “bipartisan “national war cabinet” to direct the fight against child abuse in remote indigenous communities which comes across as similar to what the Liberals have in mind.

The question of child abuse aside, the state of mortality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia remains appalling. They live on average 17 years less than other Australians. Aboriginal babies are two and a half times more likely to die before the age of one than non-Indigenous babies and most Indigenous men do not live long enough to qualify for the old age pension.

In another recent report on National Indigenous Times, the Federal Government is said to be seizing the assets of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory valued at over $400,000 which would then be rented back to the Aboriginal organisations at commercial rates.

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