Archive for August, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE – ‘concerned Australians’ ​28 August 2010

Posted in media release on 29/08/2010 by D

AUSTRALIA’S ENTRENCHED RACISM

‘concerned Australians’ welcomes the report from the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The report calls for numerous changes to the way Australia deals with ‘entrenched discrimination’. One Committee Member, Patrick Thornberry, referred to, “structurally embedded discrimination in the way the Aboriginal intervention was being handled in the Northern Territory.”

The report calls for the full reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) in the Northern Territory in a manner which ensures that the Act will “prevail over all other legislation which may be discriminatory on the grounds set out in the Convention”.

More specifically, the report states, “The Committee expresses its concern that the package of legislation under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) continues to discriminate on the basis of race as well as the use of so called “special measures”. To comply with our international obligations considerable amendment will be required to the legislation of June 2010, Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination) Act 2010.

Professor the Hon Alastair Nicholson, a co-author of the report “Loss of Rights” says, “The legislation of June 2010, restoring the Racial Discrimination Act reeks of hypocrisy in that at the same time as it does so it gives legislative force to aspects of the Northern Territory Emergency Response under the guise of them being ‘special measures’. The hypocrisy and double dealing involved is particularly apparent in relation to the income protection measures, which are now being ostensibly extended to the white population in a desperate attempt to avoid them being classed as discriminatory. Meanwhile the Government has acted in a questionable fashion to pressure Aboriginal communities to grant leases to it and thereby divest themselves of their lands. Fortunately the Committee has recognised what has been going on and has rightly criticised successive Australian Governments over this behaviour”

Elder, Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM from Galiwin’ku says, “The Australian Government has supported the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and must remove NTER measures from the legislation.”

The Committee recommends amendment to the Australian Constitution to include the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as First Nation Peoples, as well as giving consideration to the negotiation of a treaty agreement to build a constructive and sustained relationship with Indigenous people.

The report continues, “The Committee regrets the discriminatory impact this intervention has had on affected communities including restrictions on Aboriginal rights to land, property, social security, adequate standards of living, cultural development, work and remedies.”

Michele Harris OAM , spokesperson for ‘concerned Australians’ says, “the last two governments have invested huge sums of money aimed at taking control from Aboriginal people in the Territory over every aspect of life– compulsory control over Aboriginal land and leases, control over townships and community services, control over work, control over money, control over where money is spent, control over the language in which children are taught, and the list goes on.”

“ Many in Australia are unaware of the extreme changes that have been inflicted on Aboriginal people in the Territory. The recent trend in Australia has been for communication through statistics. We no longer engage with the feelings of grief and despair as is being experienced by our Aboriginal brothers and sisters in the Northern Territory.”

“Most of us, who do not live in the Territory, have no understanding of the pain that is being inflicted by the current policies. This is poignantly stated by elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM, “ It is disgusting to think that a government can inflict so much pain and so much hurt on the faces of colour and for reasons that we do not even know of.”

After the Apology most Australians expected an end to the discriminatory practices of Government. Within the next short while this should be a priority of whichever political group comes to power. Australians want change – they are disgraced by the racist tag by which our nation is becoming known. We must act on the recommendations contained in this report – Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

CONTACTS

The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC ​0418 533 411

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM ​08 8956 9850

Rev. Dr. Djinyini Gondarra OAM 0427 140 232

Michele Harris OAM ​03 9415 7164

Georgina Gartland​03 98747595

Submission to CERD “Loss of Rights” by ‘concerned Australians’

http://stoptheintervention.org/uploads/files_to_download/CERD/Loss-of-Rights-Rept-2010.pdf

Report by Rev.Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM and Rosalie Kunoth Monks OAM at:

http://natsiec.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/report-written-by-rev-dr-djiniyini-gondarra-oam-on-visit-to-cerd/

Media Release by ‘concerned Australians’

http://stoptheintervention.org/facts/icerd

Graeme Innes AM
Race Discrimination Commissioner
Australian Human Rights Commission speaking before CERD 11 Aug

http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/speeches/race/2010/20100811_CERD.html

UN says discrimination embedded in Australia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/28/2996007.htm?section=justin

CERD/C/AUS/CO/15-17

ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION
27 August 2010

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Seventy-seventh session
2 –27 August 2010

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the convention

Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Australia

1. The Committee considered the fifteenth to seventeenth periodic report of Australia (CERD/C/AUS/15-17), submitted in one document, at its 2024th and 2025th meetings (CERD/C/SR.2024 and CERD/C/SR.2025), held on 10 and 11 August 2010. At its 2043rd meeting (CERD/C/SR.2043), held on 24 August 2010, it adopted the following concluding observations.

A. Introduction

2. While welcoming the submission of the combined fifteenth to seventeenth periodic report by the State party the Committee notes that the report was not in complete conformity with its reporting guidelines. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for the presentations made by the delegation, both orally and in writing, which provided further insights into the implementation of the Convention.

B. Positive aspects

3. The Committee welcomes the State party’s expression of support, in April 2009, to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as a first step in building a sustained and constructive partnership with Indigenous peoples.

4. The Committee notes with satisfaction the National Apology for past negative Government policies issued by the State party on 13 February 2008 to Indigenous peoples and in particular the Stolen Generations, as a first step towards genuine reconciliation and reparations to be made in recognition of the history of gross violations of human rights.

5. The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State party of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the related Optional Protocol, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the standing invitation extended to all thematic special procedures, noting, in particular, the visits of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples as well as the Special Rapporteur on the right to health in 2009.

6. The Committee welcomes the Government’s commitment to address Indigenous disadvantage as set out in the six “Closing the Gap” targets.

7. The Committee notes with interest the extensive National Human Rights Consultation between December 2008 and September 2009 showing an overwhelming support for the protection of human rights.

8. The Committee welcomes the contributions of the Australian Human Rights Commission to the Committee’s work, as well as the active engagement and contributions from non-governmental organizations.

C. Concerns and recommendations

9. The Committee regrets that insufficient information regarding the concrete measures for the implementation of its previous concluding observations (CERD/C/AUS/CO/14 (2005), CERD/C/304/ADD.101 (2000)) was provided by the State Party. It also regrets that many of the concerns previously addressed to it by the Committee persist and have not resulted in structural change.

The State Party is encouraged to comply with all recommendations and decisions addressed to it by the Committee and to take all necessary steps to ensure that national legal provisions further the effective implementation of the Convention. The Committee also recommends that the State party consider the establishment of a domestic implementation mechanism for the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination across the federal system.

10. The Committee is concerned by the absence of any entrenched protection against racial discrimination in the federal Constitution and that sections 25 and 51 (xxvi) of the Constitution in themselves raise issues of racial discrimination. It notes with interest the recommendations from the National Human Rights Consultation Report and findings of a significant degree of community support for a federal Human Rights Act to thoroughly address the gaps in the existing model of human rights protection. The Committee also notes information provided on the State party’s plans to review all federal anti-discrimination laws, with the intention of their harmonization under the Human Rights Framework. (arts. 1 and 2)

The Committee urges the State party to ensure that the review of all federal anti-discrimination laws considers the gaps in legal and constitutional protections against discrimination and that consequent harmonization does not weaken the Racial Discrimination Act. It recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that the Racial Discrimination Act prevails over all other legislation which may be discriminatory on the grounds set out in the Convention. The Committee also recommends that the State party draft and adopt comprehensive legislation providing entrenched protection against racial discrimination.

11. While taking account of the State party’s commitment to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the Committee regrets the absence of a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner since 1999 and notes with concern the challenges the Human Rights Commission faces regarding limited powers, capacity, and funding (art. 2).

The Committee urges the State party to support the proper performance of the AHRC, through adequate financing and staffing, including through the appointment of a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner. It also recommends that the State party consider expanding the powers, functions and funding of the AHRC.

12. The Committee is concerned that the collection of biometric data for Australian visa applications in ten countries, as part of national security measures, may constitute racial profiling and may contribute to increased stigmatization of certain groups (art. 2).

While acknowledging the State party’s national security concerns, the Committee underlines the obligation of the State party to ensure that measures taken in the struggle against terrorism do not discriminate in purpose or effect on grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. The Committee draws the State party’s attention to its Statement on Racial Discrimination and Measures to Combat Terrorism (8 March 20002) and recommends that it undertake sensitisation campaigns against stereotypes associating certain groups with terrorism.

13. The Committee notes with concern the absence of a legal framework regulating the obligation of Australian corporations at home and overseas whose activities, notably in the extractive sector, when carried out on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples, have had a negative impact on Indigenous peoples’ rights to land, health, living environment and livelihoods (arts. 2, 4, 5).

In light of the Committee’s general recommendation 23 (1997) on the rights of indigenous peoples, the Committee encourages the State party to take appropriate legislative or administrative measures to prevent acts of Australian corporations which negatively impact on the enjoyment of rights of indigenous peoples domestically and overseas and to regulate the extra-territorial activities of Australian corporations abroad. The Committee also encourages the State party to fulfil its commitments under the different international initiatives it supports to advance responsible corporate citizenship.

14. Noting with interest the changing demographics of the State party in recent decades, the Committee regrets that its multicultural policy (Multicultural Australia United in Diversity (2003-2006)) expired in 2006. It notes with concern reports highlighting ongoing issues of discrimination and inequity in access to and delivery of services experienced by members of certain minority communities including African communities, people of Asian, Middle Eastern and Muslim background, and in particular Muslim women (arts. 1, 2, 5).

The Committee encourages the State party to develop and implement an updated comprehensive multicultural policy that reflects its increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse society. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next periodic report information on its approach to multiculturalism and diversity in national policy. It recommends that the State party strengthen the race and cultural dimensions of its Social Inclusion Agenda, in particular by ensuring adequate resources for the development of strategies that respond to the specific needs of the diverse communities of the State party.

15. The Committee notes with appreciation the acknowledgement by the State party that Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders occupy a special place in its society as the first peoples of Australia and also welcomes the establishment of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples but is concerned this is only an advisory body representing member organizations and individuals and may not be fully representative of Australia’s First Peoples. The Committee regrets the limited progress towards Constitutional acknowledgement of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, and slow implementation of the principle of Indigenous peoples’ exercising meaningful control over their affairs (arts. 1, 2, 5, 6).

Drawing the attention of the State party to the Committee’s general recommendation 23 (1997) on the rights of indigenous peoples, the Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party increase efforts to ensure a meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and that any measures to amend the Australian Constitution include the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as First Nations Peoples. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party consider the negotiation of a treaty agreement to build a constructive and sustained relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Committee also recommends that the State party provide the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples with the adequate resources to become fully operational by January 2011 and support its development.

16. The Committee expresses its concern that the package of legislation under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) continues to discriminate on the basis of race as well as the use of so called “special measures” by the State party. The Committee regrets the discriminatory impact this intervention has had on affected communities including restrictions on Aboriginal rights to land, property, social security, adequate standards of living, cultural development, work, and remedies (arts. 1, 2, and 5).

The Committee urges the State party to fully reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act, including the use of the Act to challenge and provide remedies for racially discriminatory NTER measures. It also urges the State party to guarantee that all special measures in Australian law, in particular those regarding the NTER, are in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 32 on Special Measures (2009). It encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to implement the NTER Review Board recommendations, namely that: it continue to address the unacceptably high level of disadvantage and social dislocation being experienced by Aboriginal Australians living in remote communities throughout the Northern Territory; that it reset the relationship with Aboriginal people based on genuine consultation, engagement and partnership; and that Government actions affecting the Aboriginal communities respect Australia’s human rights obligations and conform with the Racial Discrimination Act.

17. The Committee reiterates its concern about the State party’s reservations to article 4 (a) of the Convention. It notes that acts of racial hatred are not criminalized throughout the State party, pursuant to article 4 of the Convention, and also that the Northern Territory still has not enacted legislation prohibiting incitement to racial hatred (art. 4).

In light of the Committee’s general recommendations No. 7 (1985) and No. 15 (1993), according to which article 4 is of mandatory nature, the Committee recommends the State party to remedy the absence of legislation to give full effect to the provisions against racial discrimination under article 4 and withdraw its reservation to article 4 (a) relating to criminalizing the dissemination of racist ideas, incitement to racial hatred or discrimination, and the provision of any assistance to racist activities. The Committee reiterates its request for information on complaints, prosecutions and sentences regarding acts of racial hatred or incitement to racial hatred in States and Territories with legislation specifying such offenses.

18. Reiterating in full its concern about the Native Title Act 1993 and its amendments, the Committee regrets the persisting high standards of proof required for recognition of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and their traditional lands, and the fact that in spite of large investment of time and resources by Indigenous peoples, many are unable to obtain recognition of their relationship to land (art. 5).

The Committee urges the State party to provide more information on this issue, and take the necessary measures to review the requirement of such a high standard of proof. The Committee is interested in receiving data on the extent to which the legislative reforms to the Native Title Act in 2009 will achieve “better native title claim settlements in a timely manner”. It also recommends that the State party enhance adequate mechanisms for effective consultation with Indigenous peoples around all policies affecting their lives and resources.

19. While welcoming recent initiatives taken by the State party in order to increase access to justice by Indigenous Australians, the Committee is concerned that the recent funding increase for Aboriginal legal aid may be inadequate to address the continued limited access by Indigenous peoples to legal specialist and interpretation services in a sustainable manner (art. 5, 6).

The Committee encourages the State party to increase funding for Aboriginal legal aid in real terms, as a reflection of its recognition of the essential role that professional and culturally appropriate Indigenous legal and interpretive services play within the criminal justice system. Moreover, it recommends that the State party strengthen training for law enforcement personnel and the legal profession in this regard.

20. While welcoming the endorsement of National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework by all Australian Governments, the Committee reiterates its concern about the disproportionate incarceration rates and the persisting problems leading to deaths in custody of a considerable number of Indigenous Australians over the years. The Committee expresses concern in particular about the growing imprisonment rates of Indigenous women as well as the substandard conditions in many prisons (art. 5, 6).

Taking into account the Committee’s general recommendation 31 (2006) on the prevention of racial discrimination in the administration and functioning of the criminal justice system, the Committee recommends that the State party dedicate sufficient resources to address the social and economic factors underpinning Indigenous contact with the criminal justice system. It encourages the State party to adopt a justice reinvestment strategy, continuing and increasing the use of Indigenous courts and conciliation mechanisms, diversionary and prevention programs and restorative justice strategies. and that, in consultation with Indigenous communities, it take immediate steps to review the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, identifying those which remain relevant with a view to their implementation. The Committee also recommends that the State party implement the measures outlined in the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework. The Committee encourages the State party to ensure the provision of adequate health care to prisoners.

21. The Committee welcomes the new national approach to preserve Indigenous languages but is concerned that no additional financial resources have been committed by the State party nor received by the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program for this new approach. The Committee is also highly concerned by the recent abolition of bilingual education funding by the Northern Territory Government in light of the precarious condition of many Indigenous languages, and the lack of adequate opportunities for children to receive instruction in or of their language (art. 2, 5).

The Committee encourages the State party to allocate adequate resources for the new national approach to preserve Indigenous languages. It recommends that the State party, in consultation with Indigenous communities, hold a national inquiry into the issue of bilingual education for Indigenous peoples. The Committee also recommends that the State party adopt all necessary measures to preserve native languages and develop and carry out programmes to revitalize indigenous languages and bilingual and intercultural education for Indigenous peoples respecting cultural identity and history. In line with the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, to which Australia is a party, the Committee encourages the State party to consider providing adequate opportunities for national minorities to the use and teaching of their own language.

22. While recognizing the steps taken by the State party to address socio-economic disadvantages of Indigenous people, the Committee reiterates its serious concern about the continued discrimination faced by Indigenous Australians in the enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights (art. 5).

The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party ensure that resources allocated to eradicate socio-economic disparities are sufficient and sustainable. It recommends that all initiatives and programmes in this regard ensure the cultural appropriateness of public service delivery and that they seek to reduce Indigenous socio-economic disadvantage while advancing Indigenous self-empowerment.

23. The Committee is concerned by information related to the personal security of international students, and in particular, the series of racially motivated assaults and killings of Indian students in the state of Victoria. It regrets the failure by the Government and police (both at a state and federal level) to acknowledge the racial motivation of these acts, as well as the lack of available national data on the prevalence of migrants as victims of crime (arts. 2, 4, and 5).

The Committee recommends that the State party further intensify its efforts to combat racially motivated violence, including by requiring law enforcement authorities to collect data on the nationality and ethnicity of victims of such crimes and ensuring that judges, prosecutors and the police apply, in practice, existing legal provisions which consider the motive of ethnic, racial or religious hatred or enmity an aggravating circumstance. It recommends that the State party provide updated statistical data on the number and nature of reported hate crimes, prosecutions, convictions and sentences imposed on perpetrators, disaggregated by age, gender and national or ethnic origin of victims.

24. The Committee is concerned that “Excised Offshore Places” such as the immigration detention facilities on Christmas Island are removed from the operation of Australia’s migration legislation and that asylum seekers arriving by boat or intercepted before reaching the mainland without a valid visa are subject to improper processing arrangements and denied the full protections of the application and review procedures available on the mainland. The Committee is also concerned by the continued suspension of the processing of refugee status assessment procedures for applicants from certain countries, notably for Afghan asylum seekers, which lacks a legislative basis and is inconsistent with article 5 of the Convention. It regrets that the Australian High Court has found that it is lawful for a stateless person to be detained indefinitely. Finally, the Committee is concerned that children are still kept in detention-like conditions in various remote areas and at times, separate from their parents (art. 1, 2, 5).

Recalling its general recommendation No. 30 (2004) on discrimination against non-citizens, the Committee reiterates its view that States parties ensure that immigration policies do not have the effect of discriminating against persons on the basis of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. It recommends that the State party:

(a) review its mandatory detention regime of asylum seekers with a view to finding an alternative to detention, ensuring that the detention of asylum seekers is always a measure of last resort and is limited by statute to the shortest time reasonably necessary, and that all forms of arbitrary detention be avoided;

(b) expedite the removal of the suspension on processing visa applications from asylum seekers from Afghanistan and that it take the necessary measures to ensure standardized asylum assessment and review procedures and equal entitlement to public services by all asylum seekers, regardless of country of origin or mode of entry;

(c) develop appropriate reception arrangements, in particular for children;

(d) ensure in its domestic law, in accordance with article 5 (b), that the principle of non-refoulement is respected when proceeding with return of asylum-seekers to countries;

(e) accompany any changes in the processing of asylum claims with adequate protection standards for those asylum seekers whose protection is suspended.

(f) continue its cooperation with UNHCR in regard to the above.

25. The Committee regrets that no steps have been taken by the State party with regard to the Committee’s previous recommendation that the State party envisage reversing the burden of proof in civil proceedings involving racial discrimination to alleviate the difficulties faced by complainants in establishing the burden of proof (arts. 4 and 5).

The Committee recommends that as part of its harmonisation of federal anti-discrimination laws, the Racial Discrimination Act be amended, as far as civil proceedings are concerned, to require the complainant to prove prima facie discrimination, at which point the burden shifts to the respondent to prove no discrimination existed.

26. While noting with interest the range of compensation payment schemes that have been implemented or recommended for implementation in the State party, the Committee regrets the absence of appropriate compensation payment schemes for Stolen Generations and Stolen Wages, which is inconsistent with article 6 of the Convention (art. 6).

The Committee reiterates its recommendation to the State party to address appropriately and through a national mechanism past racially discriminatory practices including through the provision of adequate compensation to all involved.

27. The Committee reiterates that education plays a crucial role in promoting human rights and combating racism and notes with interest the national curriculum initiative for schools. However, it is concerned that the historical position, importance and contributions to Australian society of Indigenous peoples and those of other groups protected under the Convention may not be properly reflected in the proposed curriculum (art. 5, 7).

The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures to ensure that the national curriculum conveys an accurate message regarding the contribution of all groups protected under the Convention to Australian society and reflects the principle of full participation and equality. In light of article 7 of the Convention, it also recommends that the State party include human rights education in the national curriculum. The Committee also encourages the State party to ensure that an anti-racism strategy be established under the new Human Rights Framework and that an education program for all Australians, as per the recommendations of the Human Rights Consultation Report, with particular reference to combating discrimination, prejudice and racism be adopted.

28. Bearing in mind the indivisibility of all human rights, the Committee encourages the State party to consider ratifying those international human rights treaties which it has not yet ratified, in particular treaties the provisions of which have a direct bearing on the subject of racial discrimination, such as the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990), the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment; and ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.

29. In light of its general recommendation No. 33 (2009) on follow-up to the Durban Review Conference, the Committee recommends that the State party give effect to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted in September 2001 by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, taking into account the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva in April 2009, when implementing the Convention in its domestic legal order. The Committee requests that the State party include in its next periodic report specific information on action plans and other measures taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the national level.

30. The Committee recommends that the State party continue consulting and expanding its dialogue with organizations of civil society working in the area of human rights protection, in particular in combating racial discrimination, in connection with the preparation of the next periodic report.

31. The Committee recommends that the State party’s reports be made readily available and accessible to the public at the time of their submission, and that the observations of the Committee with respect to these reports be similarly publicized in the official and other commonly used languages, as appropriate.

32. In accordance with article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention and rule 65 of its amended rules of procedure, the Committee requests the State party to provide information, within one year of the adoption of the present conclusions, on its follow-up to the recommendations contained in paragraphs 11, 16, 23 above.

33. The Committee also wishes to draw the attention of the State party to the particular importance of recommendations 18, 22 and 26 and request the State party to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on concrete measures taken to implement these recommendations.

34. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its 18th and 19th periodic reports in a single document, due on 30 October 2012 taking into account the guidelines for the CERD-specific document adopted by the Committee during its seventy-first session (CERD/C/2007/1), and that it address all points raised in the present concluding observations. The Committee also urges the State party to observe the page limit of 40 pages for treaty-specific reports and 60-80 pages for the common core document (see harmonized guidelines for reporting contained in document HRI/GEN.2/Rev.6, para. 19).

Download the Report

Advance unedited version Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Posted in UN CERD on 29/08/2010 by D

CERD/C/AUS/CO/15-17

Distr.: General
27 August 2010

Original: English

Advance unedited version
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Seventy-seventh session
2 –27 August 2010
​Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the convention

​Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

​Australia

1.​The Committee considered the fifteenth to seventeenth periodic report of Australia (CERD/C/AUS/15-17), submitted in one document, at its 2024th and 2025th meetings (CERD/C/SR.2024 and CERD/C/SR.2025), held on 10 and 11 August 2010. At its 2043rd meeting (CERD/C/SR.2043), held on 24 August 2010, it adopted the following concluding observations.
​A. ​Introduction

2.​While welcoming the submission of the combined fifteenth to seventeenth periodic report by the State party the Committee notes that the report was not in complete conformity with its reporting guidelines. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for the presentations made by the delegation, both orally and in writing, which provided further insights into the implementation of the Convention.
​B.​Positive aspects

3.​The Committee welcomes the State party’s expression of support, in April 2009, to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as a first step in building a sustained and constructive partnership with Indigenous peoples.
4.​The Committee notes with satisfaction the National Apology for past negative Government policies issued by the State party on 13 February 2008 to Indigenous peoples and in particular the Stolen Generations, as a first step towards genuine reconciliation and reparations to be made in recognition of the history of gross violations of human rights.
5.​The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State party of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the related Optional Protocol, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the standing invitation extended to all thematic special procedures, noting, in particular, the visits of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples as well as the Special Rapporteur on the right to health in 2009.
6.​The Committee welcomes the Government’s commitment to address Indigenous disadvantage as set out in the six “Closing the Gap” targets.
7.​The Committee notes with interest the extensive National Human Rights Consultation between December 2008 and September 2009 showing an overwhelming support for the protection of human rights.
8.​The Committee welcomes the contributions of the Australian Human Rights Commission to the Committee’s work, as well as the active engagement and contributions from non-governmental organizations.
​C.​Concerns and recommendations

9.​The Committee regrets that insufficient information regarding the concrete measures for the implementation of its previous concluding observations (CERD/C/AUS/CO/14 (2005), CERD/C/304/ADD.101 (2000)) was provided by the State Party. It also regrets that many of the concerns previously addressed to it by the Committee persist and have not resulted in structural change.
​The State Party is encouraged to comply with all recommendations and decisions addressed to it by the Committee and to take all necessary steps to ensure that national legal provisions further the effective implementation of the Convention. The Committee also recommends that the State party consider the establishment of a domestic implementation mechanism for the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination across the federal system.
10.​The Committee is concerned by the absence of any entrenched protection against racial discrimination in the federal Constitution and that sections 25 and 51 (xxvi) of the Constitution in themselves raise issues of racial discrimination. It notes with interest the recommendations from the National Human Rights Consultation Report and findings of a significant degree of community support for a federal Human Rights Act to thoroughly address the gaps in the existing model of human rights protection. The Committee also notes information provided on the State party’s plans to review all federal anti-discrimination laws, with the intention of their harmonization under the Human Rights Framework. (arts. 1 and 2)
​The Committee urges the State party to ensure that the review of all federal anti-discrimination laws considers the gaps in legal and constitutional protections against discrimination and that consequent harmonization does not weaken the Racial Discrimination Act. It recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that the Racial Discrimination Act prevails over all other legislation which may be discriminatory on the grounds set out in the Convention. The Committee also recommends that the State party draft and adopt comprehensive legislation providing entrenched protection against racial discrimination.
11.​While taking account of the State party’s commitment to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the Committee regrets the absence of a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner since 1999 and notes with concern the challenges the Human Rights Commission faces regarding limited powers, capacity, and funding (art. 2).
​The Committee urges the State party to support the proper performance of the AHRC, through adequate financing and staffing, including through the appointment of a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner. It also recommends that the State party consider expanding the powers, functions and funding of the AHRC.
12.​The Committee is concerned that the collection of biometric data for Australian visa applications in ten countries, as part of national security measures, may constitute racial profiling and may contribute to increased stigmatization of certain groups (art. 2).
​While acknowledging the State party’s national security concerns, the Committee underlines the obligation of the State party to ensure that measures taken in the struggle against terrorism do not discriminate in purpose or effect on grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. The Committee draws the State party’s attention to its Statement on Racial Discrimination and Measures to Combat Terrorism (8 March 20002) and recommends that it undertake sensitisation campaigns against stereotypes associating certain groups with terrorism.
13.​The Committee notes with concern the absence of a legal framework regulating the obligation of Australian corporations at home and overseas whose activities, notably in the extractive sector, when carried out on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples, have had a negative impact on Indigenous peoples’ rights to land, health, living environment and livelihoods (arts. 2, 4, 5).
​In light of the Committee’s general recommendation 23 (1997) on the rights of indigenous peoples, the Committee encourages the State party to take appropriate legislative or administrative measures to prevent acts of Australian corporations which negatively impact on the enjoyment of rights of indigenous peoples domestically and overseas and to regulate the extra-territorial activities of Australian corporations abroad. The Committee also encourages the State party to fulfil its commitments under the different international initiatives it supports to advance responsible corporate citizenship.
14.​Noting with interest the changing demographics of the State party in recent decades, the Committee regrets that its multicultural policy (Multicultural Australia United in Diversity (2003-2006)) expired in 2006. It notes with concern reports highlighting ongoing issues of discrimination and inequity in access to and delivery of services experienced by members of certain minority communities including African communities, people of Asian, Middle Eastern and Muslim background, and in particular Muslim women (arts. 1, 2, 5).
​The Committee encourages the State party to develop and implement an updated comprehensive multicultural policy that reflects its increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse society. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next periodic report information on its approach to multiculturalism and diversity in national policy. It recommends that the State party strengthen the race and cultural dimensions of its Social Inclusion Agenda, in particular by ensuring adequate resources for the development of strategies that respond to the specific needs of the diverse communities of the State party.
15.​The Committee notes with appreciation the acknowledgement by the State party that Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders occupy a special place in its society as the first peoples of Australia and also welcomes the establishment of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples but is concerned this is only an advisory body representing member organizations and individuals and may not be fully representative of Australia’s First Peoples. The Committee regrets the limited progress towards Constitutional acknowledgement of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, and slow implementation of the principle of Indigenous peoples’ exercising meaningful control over their affairs (arts. 1, 2, 5, 6).
​Drawing the attention of the State party to the Committee’s general recommendation 23 (1997) on the rights of indigenous peoples, the Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party increase efforts to ensure a meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and that any measures to amend the Australian Constitution include the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as First Nations Peoples. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party consider the negotiation of a treaty agreement to build a constructive and sustained relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Committee also recommends that the State party provide the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples with the adequate resources to become fully operational by January 2011 and support its development.
16.​The Committee expresses its concern that the package of legislation under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) continues to discriminate on the basis of race as well as the use of so called “special measures” by the State party. The Committee regrets the discriminatory impact this intervention has had on affected communities including restrictions on Aboriginal rights to land, property, social security, adequate standards of living, cultural development, work, and remedies (arts. 1, 2, and 5).
​The Committee takes notes the State party will complete the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act in December 2010, but is concerned by the continuing difficulties in using the Act to challenge and provide remedies for racially discriminatory NTER measures. It also urges the State party to guarantee that all special measures in Australian law, in particular those regarding the NTER, are in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 32 on Special Measures (2009). It encourages the State party to strengthen its efforts to implement the NTER Review Board recommendations, namely that: it continue to address the unacceptably high level of disadvantage and social dislocation being experienced by Aboriginal Australians living in remote communities throughout the Northern Territory; that it reset the relationship with Aboriginal people based on genuine consultation, engagement and partnership; and that Government actions affecting the Aboriginal communities respect Australia’s human rights obligations and conform with the Racial Discrimination Act.
17.​The Committee reiterates its concern about the State party’s reservations to article 4 (a) of the Convention. It notes that acts of racial hatred are not criminalized throughout the State party, pursuant to article 4 of the Convention, and also that the Northern Territory still has not enacted legislation prohibiting incitement to racial hatred (art. 4).
​In light of the Committee’s general recommendations No. 7 (1985) and No. 15 (1993), according to which article 4 is of mandatory nature, the Committee recommends the State party to remedy the absence of legislation to give full effect to the provisions against racial discrimination under article 4 and withdraw its reservation to article 4 (a) relating to criminalizing the dissemination of racist ideas, incitement to racial hatred or discrimination, and the provision of any assistance to racist activities. The Committee reiterates its request for information on complaints, prosecutions and sentences regarding acts of racial hatred or incitement to racial hatred in States and Territories with legislation specifying such offenses.
18.​Reiterating in full its concern about the Native Title Act 1993 and its amendments, the Committee regrets the persisting high standards of proof required for recognition of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and their traditional lands, and the fact that in spite of large investment of time and resources by Indigenous peoples, many are unable to obtain recognition of their relationship to land (art. 5).
​The Committee urges the State party to provide more information on this issue, and take the necessary measures to review the requirement of such a high standard of proof. The Committee is interested in receiving data on the extent to which the legislative reforms to the Native Title Act in 2009 will achieve “better native title claim settlements in a timely manner”. It also recommends that the State party enhance adequate mechanisms for effective consultation with Indigenous peoples around all policies affecting their lives and resources.
19.​While welcoming recent initiatives taken by the State party in order to increase access to justice by Indigenous Australians, the Committee is concerned that the recent funding increase for Aboriginal legal aid may be inadequate to address the continued limited access by Indigenous peoples to legal specialist and interpretation services in a sustainable manner (art. 5, 6).
​The Committee encourages the State party to increase funding for Aboriginal legal aid in real terms, as a reflection of its recognition of the essential role that professional and culturally appropriate Indigenous legal and interpretive services play within the criminal justice system. Moreover, it recommends that the State party strengthen training for law enforcement personnel and the legal profession in this regard.
20.​While welcoming the endorsement of National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework by all Australian Governments, the Committee reiterates its concern about the disproportionate incarceration rates and the persisting problems leading to deaths in custody of a considerable number of Indigenous Australians over the years. The Committee expresses concern in particular about the growing imprisonment rates of Indigenous women as well as the substandard conditions in many prisons (art. 5, 6).
​Taking into account the Committee’s general recommendation 31 (2006) on the prevention of racial discrimination in the administration and functioning of the criminal justice system, the Committee recommends that the State party dedicate sufficient resources to address the social and economic factors underpinning Indigenous contact with the criminal justice system. It encourages the State party to adopt a justice reinvestment strategy, continuing and increasing the use of Indigenous courts and conciliation mechanisms, diversionary and prevention programs and restorative justice strategies. and that, in consultation with Indigenous communities, it take immediate steps to review the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, identifying those which remain relevant with a view to their implementation. The Committee also recommends that the State party implement the measures outlined in the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework. The Committee encourages the State party to ensure the provision of adequate health care to prisoners.
21.​The Committee welcomes the new national approach to preserve Indigenous languages but is concerned that no additional financial resources have been committed by the State party nor received by the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program for this new approach. The Committee is also highly concerned by the recent abolition of bilingual education funding by the Northern Territory Government in light of the precarious condition of many Indigenous languages, and the lack of adequate opportunities for children to receive instruction in or of their language (art. 2, 5).
​The Committee encourages the State party to allocate adequate resources for the new national approach to preserve Indigenous languages. It recommends that the State party, in consultation with Indigenous communities, hold a national inquiry into the issue of bilingual education for Indigenous peoples. The Committee also recommends that the State party adopt all necessary measures to preserve native languages and develop and carry out programmes to revitalize indigenous languages and bilingual and intercultural education for Indigenous peoples respecting cultural identity and history. In line with the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, to which Australia is a party, the Committee encourages the State party to consider providing adequate opportunities for national minorities to the use and teaching of their own language.
22.​While recognizing the steps taken by the State party to address socio-economic disadvantages of Indigenous people, the Committee reiterates its serious concern about the continued discrimination faced by Indigenous Australians in the enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights (art. 5).
​The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party ensure that resources allocated to eradicate socio-economic disparities are sufficient and sustainable. It recommends that all initiatives and programmes in this regard ensure the cultural appropriateness of public service delivery and that they seek to reduce Indigenous socio-economic disadvantage while advancing Indigenous self-empowerment.
23.​The Committee is concerned by information related to the personal security of international students, and in particular, the series of racially motivated assaults of Indian students, including one death, in the state of Victoria. It regrets the failure by the Government and police (both at a state and federal level) to address the racial motivation of these acts, as well as the lack of available national data on the prevalence of migrants as victims of crime (arts. 2, 4, and 5).
​The Committee recommends that the State party further intensify its efforts to combat racially motivated violence, including by requiring law enforcement authorities to collect data on the nationality and ethnicity of victims of such crimes and ensuring that judges, prosecutors and the police consistently apply existing legal provisions which consider the motive of ethnic, racial or religious hatred or enmity an aggravating circumstance. It recommends that the State party provide updated statistical data on the number and nature of reported hate crimes, prosecutions, convictions and sentences imposed on perpetrators, disaggregated by age, gender and national or ethnic origin of victims.
24.​The Committee is concerned that “Excised Offshore Places” such as the immigration detention facilities on Christmas Island are removed from the operation of Australia’s migration legislation and that asylum seekers arriving by boat or intercepted before reaching the mainland without a valid visa are subject to differential processing arrangements and denied the full protections of the application and review procedures available on the mainland. The Committee is also concerned by the continued suspension of the processing of refugee status assessment procedures for applicants from certain countries, notably for Afghan asylum seekers, which lacks a legislative basis and is inconsistent with article 5 of the Convention. It regrets that the Australian High Court has found that it is lawful for a stateless person to be detained indefinitely. Finally, the Committee is concerned that children are still kept in detention-like conditions in various remote areas and at times, separate from their parents (art. 1, 2, 5).
​Recalling its general recommendation No. 30 (2004) on discrimination against non-citizens, the Committee reiterates its view that States parties ensure that immigration policies do not have the effect of discriminating against persons on the basis of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin. It recommends that the State party:
​(a)​review its mandatory detention regime of asylum seekers with a view to finding an alternative to detention, ensuring that the detention of asylum seekers is always a measure of last resort and is limited by statute to the shortest time reasonably necessary, and that all forms of arbitrary detention be avoided;
​(b)​expedite the removal of the suspension on processing visa applications from asylum seekers from Afghanistan and that it take the necessary measures to ensure standardized asylum assessment and review procedures and equal entitlement to public services by all asylum seekers, regardless of country of origin or mode of entry;
​(c)​develop appropriate reception arrangements, in particular for children;
​(d)​ensure in its domestic law, in accordance with article 5 (b), that the principle of non-refoulement is respected when proceeding with return of asylum-seekers to countries;
​(e)​accompany any changes in the processing of asylum claims with adequate protection standards for those asylum seekers whose protection is suspended.
​(f)​continue its cooperation with UNHCR in regard to the above.
25.​The Committee regrets that no steps have been taken by the State party with regard to the Committee’s previous recommendation that the State party envisage reversing the burden of proof in civil proceedings involving racial discrimination to alleviate the difficulties faced by complainants in establishing the burden of proof (arts. 4 and 5).
​The Committee recommends that as part of its harmonisation of federal anti-discrimination laws, the Racial Discrimination Act be amended, as far as civil proceedings are concerned, to require the complainant to prove prima facie discrimination, at which point the burden shifts to the respondent to prove no discrimination existed.
26.​While noting with interest the range of compensation payment schemes that have been implemented or recommended for implementation in the State party, the Committee regrets the absence of appropriate compensation payment schemes for Stolen Generations and Stolen Wages, which is inconsistent with article 6 of the Convention (art. 6).
​The Committee reiterates its recommendation to the State party to address appropriately and through a national mechanism past racially discriminatory practices including through the provision of adequate compensation to all involved.
27.​The Committee reiterates that education plays a crucial role in promoting human rights and combating racism and notes with interest the national curriculum initiative for schools. However, it is concerned that the historical position, importance and contributions to Australian society of Indigenous peoples and those of other groups protected under the Convention may not be properly reflected in the proposed curriculum (art. 5, 7).
​The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures to ensure that the national curriculum conveys an accurate message regarding the contribution of all groups protected under the Convention to Australian society and reflects the principle of full participation and equality. In light of article 7 of the Convention, it also recommends that the State party include human rights education in the national curriculum. The Committee also encourages the State party to ensure that an anti-racism strategy be established under the new Human Rights Framework and that an education program for all Australians, as per the recommendations of the Human Rights Consultation Report, with particular reference to combating discrimination, prejudice and racism be adopted.
28.​Bearing in mind the indivisibility of all human rights, the Committee encourages the State party to consider ratifying those international human rights treaties which it has not yet ratified, in particular treaties the provisions of which have a direct bearing on the subject of racial discrimination, such as the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990), the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment; and ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.
29.​In light of its general recommendation No. 33 (2009) on follow-up to the Durban Review Conference, the Committee recommends that the State party give effect to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted in September 2001 by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, taking into account the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva in April 2009, when implementing the Convention in its domestic legal order. The Committee requests that the State party include in its next periodic report specific information on action plans and other measures taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the national level.
30.​The Committee recommends that the State party continue consulting and expanding its dialogue with organizations of civil society working in the area of human rights protection, in particular in combating racial discrimination, in connection with the preparation of the next periodic report.
31.​The Committee recommends that the State party’s reports be made readily available and accessible to the public at the time of their submission, and that the observations of the Committee with respect to these reports be similarly publicized in the official and other commonly used languages, as appropriate.
32.​In accordance with article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention and rule 65 of its amended rules of procedure, the Committee requests the State party to provide information, within one year of the adoption of the present conclusions, on its follow-up to the recommendations contained in paragraphs 11, 16, 23 above.
33.​The Committee also wishes to draw the attention of the State party to the particular importance of recommendations 18, 22 and 26 and request the State party to provide detailed information in its next periodic report on concrete measures taken to implement these recommendations.
34.​The Committee recommends that the State party submit its 18th and 19th periodic reports in a single document, due on 30 October 2012 taking into account the guidelines for the CERD-specific document adopted by the Committee during its seventy-first session (CERD/C/2007/1), and that it address all points raised in the present concluding observations. The Committee also urges the State party to observe the page limit of 40 pages for treaty-specific reports and 60-80 pages for the common core document (see harmonized guidelines for reporting contained in document HRI/GEN.2/Rev.6, para. 19).

GE.10-44333

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Posted in NEWS on 29/08/2010 by D

Report written by Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM on behalf of himself and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM, both of whom attended the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – 77th Session August 2010

I want to begin by expressing my thanks to the Quaker United Nations Office whose personnel accompanied Rosalie and myself in Geneva.

I also want to thank members of the NGO team, the Australian Racial Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes and his staff, Les Malezer from FAIRA, and the representatives from the National Association of Community Legal Services, Amnesty International and the National Native Title Council, for hearing our story and helping us to put this in our report to the Committee.

I want to thank the CERD committee itself, with the rapporteur Jose Calitzay, for truly hearing our personal experience of what is happening in the Northern Territory (NT) for the first people of Australia, and then sharing that concern back to the Australian Government delegation when they appeared before the committee.

Finally I wish to thank ‘concerned Australians’ who negotiated our appearance before CERD and enabled our travel to Geneva from our communities in the NT.

It was encouraging for us to meet people interested in our struggle for justice and peace. We were able to meet many individuals personally. They are people who will stand in solidarity against this system that has made us victims.

The trip to the UN headquarters in Geneva was very worthwhile for us because it allowed the world to hear what is truly happening to the First peoples of Australia in isolated communities in the NT, places that have not been represented well by media and government reporting. We have repeatedly tried to bring attention to our cause through the government, and other organizations. This has not been a possible doorway.

We have not received any response from the Government – this was a good time to go to the UN. The UN was able to hear us express that the NTER and intervention are not a special measures. It shows that what the Australian Government is trying to do is target the First peoples of this country. By going to the UN, we are asking the Australian Government to take our concerns seriously.

I can now see that the UN is the vehicle for the voice of Aboriginal people to be heard. That is before the highest council in the world. This is the same way other countries resolve issues of race, and discrimination.

The Australian Government has supported the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and must remove the NTER measures from the legislation, and start to look at a more positive ways of working with all Australians. We must be treated equally. This is justice for everyone.

We all agree that children should be looked after, that there should not be domestic violence, that there should not be violence from alcohol. These are issues that affect all Australians. We should not have been targeted as the only people that are affected by these issues. We should be finding the solutions together.

Many Australians are concerned with how the First Australians are being treated by the Australian Government. They can see that this is unjust. Ordinary Australians can see this injustice in a democratic country and know that it shouldn’t be happening. When you share with a body such as the UN – straight away they see that Australia is racist and that the Government does not govern with the spirit of peace and order.

The survival for Aboriginal people relies on changes to the Constitution and the establishment of a Treaty. The treaty needs to be borne out of the people who have a very strong connection with land, culture, spirituality and law. rather than being established by government, or a committee formed by government. It should be established by the people that maintain tradition because the necessary tools are already in place.

Now that we are back in Australia, we want to establish an ongoing forum where there is a relationship between traditional peoples of central Australia, Arnhem Land and groups like the Human Rights Commission and other interested parties to continue the conversation that has been started.

Visiting the UN has helped me to see that we are not alone in the struggle for human rights. There is a platform for all indigenous people of the world where we can go and share our concerns. Both Rosalie and myself felt great relief at being able to share our pain, on behalf of our people in Central and Northern Australia, in this forum.

I can be contacted for any further information on 0427140232, or by email at d.gondarra@hotmail.com and duduynguw@bigpond.com, or at the ALPA office: Ph: 08 8944 6444. Fax: 08 8981 6410. Email: darwin.office@alpa.asn.au.

Shalom

Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM

MEDIA RELEASE ‘concerned Australians’

Posted in media release on 29/08/2010 by D

– 15 August

NT Aboriginal Elders Take their Message to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Geneva

Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks are on their way home from Geneva where they had been attending the 77th Session of the Committee for Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. According to Dr. Djiniyini this was an important meeting for both of them. He said, “We were able to present evidence first hand. We were able to close the information gap”.

He continued, “We were able to speak from the soul. The environment in which we were speaking was one focused solely on human rights; it was not intruded upon by politics. We were able to reach the heights in dialogue and understanding that we hadn’t expected.”

Rosalie spoke of the importance of the visit to the UN. “It is the land that holds us together and following the second invasion of the 2007 Intervention, we are hurting, we are suffering. I went to the UN to relieve my pain by being able to present the true facts of what is happening in the remote parts of our country. I had to find a platform where it could be told.”

The meeting was attended by the Australian Government delegation led by HE Ambassador Peter Woolcott and representatives from a number of different government departments. (FAHCSIA, DEEWR, DOHA, DIAC, AGD)

The NGO Meeting with the Members of the CERD Committee commenced with a traditional welcome ceremony by Dr. Djiniyini. The NGO team included the Australian Racial Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, Les Malezer from FAIRA and representatives from the National Association of Community Legal Services, Australia International and the National Native Title Council. Members of the Committee were generous in their welcome to Rosalie and Djiniyini.

On 9th August Rosalie and Djiniyini joined with Rodney Dillon from Amnesty International and Brian Wyatt from the National Native Title Council. They each spoke at a presentation for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Leaders .

The Race Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, in his presentation said, “Rosie and Djiniyini, you are descendants of ancient peoples, the world’s oldest continuing culture, and you do not need me, or the Australian Government, to speak for you. But may I repeat your messages:
You did not consent to the Northern Territory Intervention.
You said that the Intervention is not a special measure.
You said that it is not a positive or concrete measure to strengthen your communities, culture customary practice. It has had the opposite effect. It has removed people from their lands, and their own distinct practices and world values. And you said that without land and community at your spiritual centre, every Aboriginal person in Australia will be lost.

Thank you for coming, and giving those messages”.

Quakers United Nations Office generously assisted in arranging a number of important meetings for Rosalie and Djiniyini outside the scheduled events. These included meetings with the Head of the UPR unit, Head of the OHCHR Minorities and Indigenous Peoples unit and Committee Member and Rapporteur, Jose Cali Tzay.

Djiniyini and Rosalie carried with them to the UN the report “Loss of Rights” prepared by, ‘concerned Australians’.

http://www.socialpolicyconnections.com.au/Portals/3/docs/CERD%20report%20%28final%29%20internet%20version%2010072010%20Copy.pdf

Links to reports that were presented at the UN are:

Australian Human Rights Commission: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/AHRC_Australia77.pdf

National Association of Community Legal Services: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/NACLCHRLRC_Australia77.pdf

Intervention Rollback Action Group: http://www.rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com

Amnesty International:​http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/AI_Australia77.pdf

National Native Title Council: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/NNC_Australia77.doc

Australian Government’s submission: http://www.dfat.gov.au

Djiniyini and Rosalie at the podium at the UN at the Podium (top) With Graeme Innes, Race Discrimination Commissioner (bottom)​

CONTACTS:​​Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM​0427 140 232

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM​0419 868 947

Michele Harris OAM​03 9415 7164

26/08/2010: 2010 FEDERAL ELECTION:

Posted in NEWSLETTER on 26/08/2010 by D

– Background

Reconciliation Australia:
Five Fast Facts – Indigenous Candidates in the Federal Election
http://www.reconciliation.org.au/home/reconciliation-resources/facts—figures/q-a-factsheets/five-fast-facts—indigenous-participation-in-parliament

ANTaR – Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation:
Election 2010: Towards justice, rights and reconciliation?
An analysis of the major parties’ Indigenous affairs election platforms
http://www.antar.org.au/sites/default/files/ANTaR%20election%20analysis%20final.pdf

– Media Release

Workers Bush Telegraph:
Greens beat Labor in remote Central Australia
http://workersbushtelegraph.com.au/2010/08/24/greens-beat-labor-in-remote-central-australia/
24 Aug 10: “Greens candidates for both Lingiari and the
Senate have clearly outpolled Labor in remote Central
Australian communities this election, in a shock swing that
condemns the NT Intervention. A tally of all remote teams
south of Tennant Creek shows that for the seat of Lingiari,
Greens candidate Barbara Shaw received 905 votes to Warren
Snowdon’s 840. In the Senate Warren H Williams received 998
votes to Labor’s 941. … “These results show a deep
hostility to the NT Intervention, the Shire takeover and
nuclear projects planned for Aboriginal land. They reflect
support for the campaigns demanding an end to the
Intervention and investment in jobs, services and community
development which the Greens have vocally supported”, said
Barbara Shaw, Greens candidate for Lingiari. … “

See also:
Australian Greens: Barbara Shaw – Candidate for Lingiari:
http://greens.org.au/lingiari

– News

Koori Mail: Greens: Remote voters rejected Snowdon
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
24 Aug 10: “THE Australian Greens’ say hostility towards
the NT Intervention and planned nuclear projects helps to
account for the party’s strong showing at several key
polling booths. Labor incumbent Warren Snowdon was returned
in the seat of Lingiari but with a much reduced margin. At
last count, Greens candidate and vocal NT Intervention
critic Barb Shaw had outpolled both Mr Snowdon and Country
Liberal Party candidate Leo Abbott in several booths south
of Tennant Creek.”

ABC: Intervention cost Labor votes: NT minister
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/24/2991557.htm
24 Aug 10: “The Minister for Central Australia, Karl
Hampton, says the federal intervention contributed to a
swing against Labor in the Northern Territory. The Labor
Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, retained the seat,
which covers almost all of the Territory, but his vote in
remote areas dropped by a third.”

Green Left: Anti-intervention vote high in NT communities
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/45184
24 Aug 10: “Barb Shaw, a well-known Aboriginal activist
from Alice Springs’ town camps who has campaigned
tirelessly against the Northern Territory intervention,
doubled the Greens’ vote in the huge NT seat of Lingiari,
poking holes in the government’s claims that Aboriginal
people support the intervention. … Shaw scored 12.56%
but, the Greens said, in all remote Aboriginal communities
south of Tennant Creek, Shaw beat ALP incumbent Warren
Snowdon.” Peter Robson

Koori Mail: Greens: Hasluck still undecided
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
24 Aug 10: “COUNTING is still underway in the electorate of
Australia’s would-be first Indigenous member of the House
of Representatives. At about six o’clock tonight, Liberal
candidate for the Perth metropolitan seat of Hasluck Ken
Wyatt was ahead of Labor incumbent Sharryn Jackson by less
than 600 votes, on a two-party preferred basis. The seat is
considered crucial in determining the balance of power in
the Lower House.”

ABC: Major parties ‘underestimated’ Indigenous voters
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/23/2991045.htm
23 Aug 10: “Indigenous leaders say Aboriginal people
abandoned the major parties on Saturday because neither was
offering them anything of substance. Larrakia woman Donna
Jackson, who was at today’s opening of the World Indigenous
Women and Wellness Conference in Darwin, says the major
parties failed to offer anything to Aboriginal people and
are paying for it. “The swing towards the Greens is because
they are actually speaking it when they stand up, they are
not giving us rhetoric,” she said.”

news.com.au: Federal election vote makes history
http://www.news.com.au/features/federal-election/federal-election-vote-makes-history/story-e6frfllr-1225908603398
22 Aug 10: “The Liberals look on track to deliver the first
Aboriginal MP to the House of Representatives, with Ken
Wyatt ahead of his rival in the Western Australian seat of
Hasluck. Fewer than 400 votes separated him from sitting
Labor MP Sharryn Jackson on Sunday, but Mr Wyatt, who is of
Noongar, Yamatji and Wongi heritage, said he was confident
“we will fall over the line”.”


An Evening For Muckaty

Posted in EVENTS on 12/08/2010 by D

06/08/2010: ALICE SPRINGS GATHERING RESOLUTIONS; NEW WAY SUMMIT PRESENTATIONS

Posted in NEWSLETTER on 09/08/2010 by D

Contents:
Alice Springs Gathering Resolutions
Media about the Alice Springs Gathering
Melbourne New Way Summit Presentations

ALICE SPRINGS GATHERING RESOLUTIONS:

Rollback the Intervention: Statements/Reports
Resolutions from the Defending Indigenous Rights Conference
Alice Springs. 6-9 July 2010.
[Click on link to read statements]
http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/statements/
“We the people in attendance at the Defending Indigenous
Rights conference held in Alice Springs from the 6-9th July
2010 stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people of the
Northern Territory to condemn the NT Intervention. We call
on all political parties to call for the abolition of the
NT Emergency Response legislation and return rights of self
determination and restore control over Traditional lands,
including remote communities, homelands, and town camps. …
1. Women’s Statement …
2. Worse than Workchoices: Exploitation of Aboriginal
workers must stop! Jobs with Justice now. …
3. No to Radioactive Racism …
4. Defend Aboriginal Languages
– Scrap the Bi-Lingual Education Ban …
5. Indigenous Media and Media Representation … “

MEDIA ABOUT THE ALICE SPRINGS GATHERING:

– Background

Defending Indigenous Rights Land~Law~Culture
July 6-9 in Mparntwe-Alice Springs
http://defendingindigenousrights.wordpress.com/

– Radio

CAAMA Radio (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
Defending Indigenous Rights Conference Interview
http://caama.com.au/radio/defending-indigenous-rights-conference-interview/
8 Jul 10

– Video

ABC: Calls to end federal intervention
http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/07/06/2946476.htm
6 Jul 10: “Indigenous people from around Australia have met
in Alice Springs to call on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to
end welfare quarantining and the Basics Card which they
label discriminatory.”

– News

Green Left: Justice Ride revs up activists
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44881
25 Jul 10: “On July 15, 25 Justice Ride participants
returned from their trip across Queensland to Alice Springs
for the Defending Indigenous Rights convergence over July
6-9. The trip to Alice Springs took four days each way, so
there was plenty of time for us to get to know each other,
discuss local Aboriginal rights campaigns, such as those
against black deaths in custody, and take in Australia’s
beautiful and ancient landscape.”

Green Left: Alice Springs convergence condemns NT intervention
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44718
10 Jul 10: “More than 200 people gathered at the Yirara
College in Alice Springs over July 6-9 for a conference
entitled Defending Indigenous Rights: Land, Law, Culture
Convergence. … Aboriginal community leaders such as Harry
Nelson, Murray George, Barb Shaw, Uncle Kevin Buzzacott and
Richard Downs — along with many others — addressed and
facilitated forums covering the full scope of attacks on
Aboriginal people, their land, culture and language.”

Green Left: On the solidarity bus
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44716
10 Jul 10: “On June 30, 31 mainly young activists set off
from around NSW in an old converted school bus, for the
“Indigenous Solidarity Rides” heading to an Aboriginal
rights convergence in Alice Springs over July 6-11. At the
same time, 25 activists from Brisbane headed to the
convergence, also in a bus, as part of the “Justice Ride”.”

Green Left: Students slime nuclear scumbags
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44717
10 Jul 10: “About 250 people attended the Students of
Sustainability (SoS) conference at Flinders University in
Adelaide over July 4-8. A highlight of the conference was
the attendance of the Indegenous Solidarity Rides bus full
of passengers on their way from Newcastle to the
convergence at Alice Springs.”

ABC: First Nations party wants Macklin to resign
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/09/2949652.htm?site=alicesprings&section=news
9 Jul 10: “A crowd of at least 200 people gathered in the
Alice Springs Todd Mall to demand the immediate roll back
of the federal intervention in the Northern Territory. …
The rally is part of the “Four Days in July” conference,
which has been held in Alice Springs this week.”

Koori Mail: Campaigners converge on Alice
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
8 Jul 10: “INDIGENOUS rights campaigners and supporters
have converged on Alice Springs for the Defending
Indigenous Rights Conference at Yirara College. Issues on
the agenda include the Northern Territory Intervention,
bilingual education, imprisonment rates of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people and the impacts of uranium
mining on Aboriginal land. The conference finishes tomorrow
with a public rally.”

SMH: Students hear NT anti-intervention talks
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/students-hear-nt-antiintervention-talks-20100708-1022n.html
8 Jul 10: “Busloads of university students converged on
Alice Springs to support indigenous people seeking an end
to the federal government’s intervention in the Northern
Territory. Students from Queensland, NSW and South
Australia travelled to central Australia this week for a
meeting on the Northern Territory Emergency Response, more
commonly known as the intervention, and its effects on
Aborigines.”

ABC: Forum to discuss NT intervention ‘apartheid’
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/06/2945757.htm
6 Jul 10: “The federal intervention in the Northern
Territory is expected to come under fire at a forum
starting in Alice Springs today. The “Defending Indigenous
Rights” conference will also include presentations on
bilingual education and the campaign to stop a nuclear
waste dump going ahead in the Northern Territory.”

Indigenous Solidarity Rides 2010
http://indigenoussolidarityrides.blogspot.com/
5 Jul 10: “From June 30 to July 20 this year, the
Indigenous Solidarity Rides will take over 40 people from
NSW on a trip to Alice Springs to attend a convergence for
Aboriginal rights.”

MELBOURNE NEW WAY SUMMIT PRESENTATIONS:

– Background

Treaty Republic:
Melbourne based New Way Aboriginal summit
leads into NAIDOC week 2010
http://www.treatyrepublic.net/content/new-way-summit-melbourne-1st-first-notice

Treaty Republic:
Aboriginal New Way Summit in Melbourne overview
http://www.treatyrepublic.net/content/aboriginal-new-way-summit-melbourne-overview
Green Left: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/44684

Treaty Republic:
New Way Summit: Aboriginals to Retake Lands
http://www.treatyrepublic.net/content/new-way-summit-aboriginals-retake-lands

– Discussion & Audio

Treaty Republic:
New Way Summit Presentations with Audio downloads
http://www.treatyrepublic.net/content/new-way-summit-presentations-audio-downloads
Indymedia Australia:
http://indymedia.org.au/2010/07/22/australia-a-crime-scene-and-undeclared-war-zone-since-white-invasion
22 Jul 10: “A selection of presentations from the 2010
Melbourne ‘New Way’ Aboriginal Summit – edited and
presented by Diet Simon with the relevant audio file
downloads included. …
Summit Presentations: Robbie Thorpe, Michael Anderson,
Gary Foley, Len Cooper, Kevin Bracken, Geoff Clark.
[and Nigerian High Commissioner Professor Olu Agbi] … “
“You may use the audio any way you wish. It would be nice
but not imperative to acknowledge film-maker Ellie Gilbert
and me [Diet Simon] as the recordists.”