Statement by UN Rapporteur, James Anaya
Alyawarra people seek UN refugee status
Proposed national Indigenous body
Other Aboriginal articles


– Statement at Press Conference

[Ed. note: I have chosen the quote below as I think it will
be of interest to readers. However, may I encourage you to
click on the link below and read all of James Anaya’s
statement for a more complete understanding of his views.]

Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people,
James Anaya, as he concludes his visit to Australia
“Canberra/Geneva, 27 August 2009: … Aspects of the
Government’s initiatives to remedy situations of indigenous
disadvantage, however, raise concerns. Of particular
concern is the Northern Territory Emergency Response, which
by the Government’s own account is an extraordinary
measure, especially in its income management regime,
imposition of compulsory leases, and community-wide bans on
alcohol consumption and pornography. These measures overtly
discriminate against aboriginal peoples, infringe their
right of self-determination and stigmatize already
stigmatized communities. … I urge the Government to act
swiftly to reinstate the protections of the Racial
Discrimination Act in regard to the indigenous peoples of
the Northern Territory. … government initiatives to
address the housing needs of indigenous peoples, should
avoid imposing leasing or other arrangements that would
undermine indigenous peoples’ control over their lands.
… “

– Radio

ABC Radio Australia:
UN urges Australia to pay reparations to indigenous communities
28 Aug 09: ” … The UN’s special rapporteur on indigenous
rights and freedoms is American law expert Professor James
Anaya, and he’s given his initial findings, after a 12-day
tour of urban and remote Australia. He also says Canberra
should pay reparations to the country’s indigenous people,
something the Labor government has previously ruled out.
… “

ABC PM: UN official slams NT intervention
27 Aug 09: “A senior United Nations official has slammed
the Northern Territory intervention. Professor James Anaya
is the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights and freedoms
of Indigenous peoples. After 11 days touring Aboriginal
communities, he says Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
are experiencing entrenched racism. Professor Anaya says
the intervention breaches a number of international
[includes comments by James Anaya]

– Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
Facing up to our racism:
A UN perspective on the Northern Territory intervention
28 Aug 09: “Prof Anaya brings within him a big reputation.
Or, in the words of Indigenous affairs minister Jenny
Macklin, who greeted Anaya at a function when he arrived a
fortnight ago: “Professor Anaya is recognised as one of the
world’s leading human rights advocates and legal scholars,”
Macklin enthused. “His advocacy and legal work on behalf of
Indigenous communities command worldwide attention. This is
an extraordinary opportunity for an honest and open
exchange of views and experiences.” ” Chris Graham

– News

National Indigenous Times:
UN Indigenous rights experts slams intervention as
“overtly discriminatory”
28 Aug 09: “A UN expert on Indigenous rights says the
ongoing intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in
the Northern Territory is overtly discriminatory and
Australia must tackle its “entrenched” racism. … He
[Professor Anaya] says NT intervention measures, including
compulsory income management and blanket bans on alcohol
and pornography, are “overtly discriminatory” and further
stigmatise already stigmatised communities. They’re
incompatible with various international conventions,
covenants, treaties and declarations, he said. … Prof
Anaya was also scathing of Labor’s insistence that housing
funds would only flow if Indigenous communities leased
their land to the government for 40 years.”

SMH: End culture of racism, says UN inspector
28 Aug 09: “COMPULSORY land takeovers, welfare quarantining
and forced alcohol and pornography bans must cease if
Australia’s ”broad-sweep” intervention is to comply with
international law, the United Nations says. The UN special
rapporteur on indigenous human rights, James Anaya,
yesterday gave a damning assessment of entrenched racism
that persisted in Australia, specifying measures in the
Northern Territory intervention.”

Canberra Times: UN flays ‘discriminatory’ NT intervention
28 Aug 09: “The UN’s special rapporteur on Indigenous
Rights, James Anaya, has savaged the Northern Territory
intervention as “clearly discriminatory” and “demeaning” to
indigenous people. … He said the Northern Territory
intervention breached two United Nations rights charters to
which Australia was a signatory, and the UN Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous People.”

ABC: Intervention protects vulnerable: Macklin
28 Aug 09: “Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has
defended the Northern Territory intervention as necessary
to protect the rights of vulnerable people, following
United Nations criticism it is racist.”

ABC: NT Govt brushes off UN’s intervention blast
28 Aug 09: “The Northern Territory’s Acting Chief Minister,
Delia Lawrie, has rejected criticism of the intervention by
the United Nations special rapporteur. … Meanwhile,
Indigenous activist Barbara Shaw says the Federal
Government must stop the practice of income management in
Territory Indigenous communities.”

National Indigenous Times:
Abbott dubs Anaya an “armchair critic”
28 Aug 09: “A United Nations expert who described
intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in the
Northern Territory as discriminatory is an “armchair
critic”, opposition Indigenous affairs spokesman Tony
Abbott says.”

ABC: Brough dismisses UN intervention criticism
28 Aug 09: “Mal Brough, the minister who oversaw the
Northern Territory intervention, has angrily dismissed
claims by a United Nations human rights expert that the
measures are overtly racist.”

Australian: Brough slams UN indigenous expert
28 Aug 09: “THE Howard Government minister who designed the
Northern Territory intervention policy in remote indigenous
communities has slammed a UN expert for suggesting the
program is overtly discriminatory.”

Australian: Howard ministers accuse UN observer Anaya of
putting rights before living standards
28 Aug 09: “TWO former Howard government ministers have
accused a United Nations observer of putting rights before
living standards by alleging that the intervention into
remote Northern Territory communities is discriminatory.”

BBC: UN condemns Aboriginal treatment
27 Aug 09: “A senior United Nations human rights official
has criticised Australia’s measures to fight child abuse
and alcoholism in Aboriginal communities. Prof James Anaya
said the measures were discriminatory and stigmatised
indigenous people. He spoke after a tour of Aboriginal
townships prompted by complaints that the government
intervention was racist.”
[The same news item appeared in this Nigeria blog:
http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/blog/?p=22356 ]

New York Times:
U.N. Condemns ’07 Policy in Aboriginal Communities
27 Aug 09: “A senior United Nations official on Thursday
condemned Australia’s intervention in remote Aboriginal
communities in 2007, describing the measures as

Bloomberg: UN Says Indigenous Rights Undermined in Australia
27 Aug 09: “James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on
indigenous human rights, called on the government to scrap
the so-called intervention policy in the Northern
Territory, under which welfare payments to Aborigines are
held by officials to ensure money is spent on food instead
of alcohol. “There is entrenched racism in Australia,”
Anaya told reporters in the capital, Canberra, after
visiting several Aboriginal townships in the past week.”

Reuters [US]: UN critical of Australian Aboriginal intervention
27 Aug 09: “A senior United Nations official condemned on
Thursday Australia’s controversial intervention into remote
Aboriginal communities, describing the measures as
discriminatory and finding entrenched racism in Australia.”

VOANews.com [US]: UN Representative Criticizes Australia’s
Aboriginal Policies as Racist
27 Aug 09: “A U.N. representative says Australia’s
intervention in dozens of troubled Aboriginal communities
is discriminatory and breaches the country’s international
human-rights obligations. The U.N. special investigator on
indigenous people, James Anaya, says that Aborigines in
Australia face entrenched racism.”

ABC: Indigenous intervention discriminatory: UN
27 Aug 09: “The United Nations says Australia is breaching
its international human rights obligations by continuing
the Northern Territory intervention. The UN’s special
rapporteur on human rights and fundamental freedoms of
Indigenous people, Professor James Anaya, says the
intervention is also discriminatory and has urged the
Government to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act.”

Breaking News 24/7: UN says racism entrenched in Australia
27 Aug 09: “James Anaya didn’t pull any punches after his
two-week visit of the country, saying the Rudd Government
should reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in the
Northern Territory “right away” because the intervention
into remote Aboriginal communities is clearly

Breaking News 24/7: UN expert says Australia breached
Aborigines’ rights with measures mean to curb child abuse
27 Aug 09: “Australia breached international obligations on
human and indigenous rights by imposing radical
restrictions on Aborigines during a crackdown on child
abuse in Outback communities, a United Nations expert said

– Video

SBS World News: Intervention Attacked
28 Aug 09

ABC Lateline: UN labels Indigenous intervention racist
27 Aug 09: “The United Nations has called the
Commonwealth’s intervention into Northern Territory
Indigenous communities racist, and says it breaches a
number of international treaties. At the same time,
Australia’s Social Justice Commissioner has unveiled his
proposal for a new Indigenous advisory body, a model that
attracted criticism of its own.”

– Background

WGAR News:
UN Expert visits Australia to report on Aboriginal Human Rights (18 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
UN Expert James Anaya to examine NT Intervention (19 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
UN Rapporteur visits Aboriginal communities (23 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
Visit by UN Expert, James Anaya (26 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2009/08/26/wgar-news-intervention-walk-off-community-seeks-un-support-26-aug-09


– Background

Intervention walkoff’s Blog

WGAR News:
Intervention Walk-off community seeks UN support (26 Aug 09)

– News

Asia One: Australian Aborigines seek ‘refugee’ status
26 Aug 09: “A group of Aborigines from Australia’s desert
Outback have asked the United Nations to declare them
refugees in their own country, saying a military-led
crackdown has left them powerless.”

News Times [India]:
Australian aborigines demand UN refugee status
26 Aug 09: “A group of Australian aborigines has requested
the United Nations to grant them refugee status. …
Richard Downs, a spokesman of the 4000-member Alyawarra
community in central Australia, said the request for
refugee status had been forwarded to James Anaya, the
United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous human
rights, when he was visiting Australia on a fact-finding

AOL News Canada: Australia’s Aborigines request refugee status
26 Aug 09: “A group of 4,000 Australian Aborigines asked
the United Nations to grant them refugee status Wednesday,
saying that government-imposed measures to curb alcohol and
sexual abuse in their communities have made them outcasts
in their own country, according to Reuters.”

9 News: NT Aborigines seek UN refugee status
26 Aug 09: “Aborigines from central Australia are seeking
refugee status from the United Nations, claiming they have
been forced off their land and made to feel “helpless,
hopeless and worthless”. They say the federal intervention
into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern
Territory has deprived them of basic human rights and
violated their ties to country.”

ABC: Aboriginal refugee claim ‘unlikely to succeed’
27 Aug 09: “An expert in refugee and human rights law says
a group of Aboriginal people who have asked the United
Nations to register them as refugees within Australia are
unlikely to be successful.”

Reuters [US]: Australia Aborigines ask U.N. for refugee status
25 Aug 09: “A group of Australian Aborigines asked the
United Nations Wednesday for refugee status, claiming
special emergency laws to curb alcohol and sexual abuse in
the remote outback have turned them into outcasts at home.”


– Video

ABC 7.30 Report: Tom Calma joins The 7.30 Report
27 Aug 09: “Australia may soon have a new peak Aboriginal
advisory body, a Congress of 128 members drawn from
communities and organisations around the nation to replace
ATSIC, which was discredited and axed by the Howard
government. Unlike ATSIC, the new congress with its own
ethics council would have no power to implement policy or
provide direct services to Aboriginal communities. The
body has been proposed by a review process headed by
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Commissioner Tom Calma, and was unveiled ironically on the
same day as a special UN rapporteur visited Australia has
trenchantly criticise the Northern Territory

SBS World News: Intervention Attacked
28 Aug 09
[Play video. Midway through there are comments by Tom Calma
and Michael Anderson on the proposed Indigenous body.]

– News

ABC Darwin: Anderson sceptical about post-ATSIC body
28 Aug 09: “The former Northern Territory Indigenous policy
minister, Alison Anderson, says a plan for a new body to
represent Aboriginal people will have board members who do
not really understand the problems of people in remote

ABC: Calma urges support for ATSIC replacement
27 Aug 09: “A new organisation to represent Indigenous
people should be an independent private body headed by
elected representatives, the Federal Government has been

ABC: Fears of ATSIC ghost in new Indigenous body
27 Aug 09: “Members of the Indigenous community have given
mixed reviews to a proposed national Indigenous body, with
many hoping the new council will usher in an era of
self-determination. But despite the Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Justice Commissioner Tom Calma’s promise
that the new body will be “radically different” from
anything seen in the past, the ghost of ATSIC still lurks.”

Australian: Cracks already in new indigenous council
27 Aug 09: “MANY of the nation’s most recognised Aboriginal
leaders have had no input into the creation of a national
indigenous body, raising concerns that the new council will
fail to bridge the divide between urban and remote
indigenous communities.”

– Opinion

Coober Pedy Regional Times:
UN Visit – Tom Calma criticised by NSW Aboriginal leader
27 Aug 09: “A NSW Aboriginal leader suggests that an
address by Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Social
Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, today is timed to draw
attention away from one just after it by James Anaya, UN
Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, to report on
his recent findings in Aboriginal communities.”

Australian: Indigenous body is not the main game
28 Aug 09: “Tom Calma’s proposed body ignores the real
challenges. TOM Calma’s blueprint for a new national
indigenous body is a victory for structure over substance.
The report presented to the federal government yesterday by
the Social Justice Commissioner has considerable detail
about how the body will be set up. But the missing piece
is what exactly this institution would really achieve at
this moment in Australian politics.”

Australian: Probity check for ‘new ATSIC’ as minister
fails to commit to seed money
28 Aug 09: “But plans for the body to be independent of the
government hit an early stumbling block, with Indigenous
Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin declining to commit funding
that would allow it to become financially self-sufficient.”
Nicola Berkovic and Stuart Rintoul

Australian: Body devoid of power and purpose
28 Aug 09: “AMIDST clouds of dewy rhetoric, Social Justice
Commissioner Tom Calma yesterday proposed, from the podium
of the National Press Club, what the Labor federal
government will happily accept – a national Aboriginal
representative body without power, without obvious purpose,
full of modish features and non-traditional aspects.”
Nicolas Rothwell


– News

ABC: Release Aboriginal housing report now: CLP
27 Aug 09: “The Northern Territory Opposition says the
Government must immediately release a report into a major
Indigenous housing program. The report into the Strategic
Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program is now
overdue. The authors are looking into concerns much of the
$672 million allocated is being sucked up by
administrative and ancillary costs.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: