26/05/2011 UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, criticises the NT Intervention

* UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Navi Pillay,
criticises the Northern Territory Intervention
* Video “Intervention fight” – topics:
– Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra visits Europe;
– “Our Generation” film in UK;
– Aboriginal leaders meet with Navi Pillay.
* Other Northern Territory (NT) Intervention articles
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Other Aboriginal articles


– Media Release

Scoop: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay
25 May 11: “I welcome the advances the Government has made
in addressing some of the disadvantages faced by Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In particular, I
welcome the National Apology and Australia’s formal
recognition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, along with the significant investment
being made to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
health and education. However, I believe these efforts are
being undermined by policies that fail to recognise the
right to self-determination for indigenous people, which
is a key element of the UN Declaration.
In my discussions with Aboriginal people, I could sense the
deep hurt and pain that they have suffered because of
government policies that are imposed on them. I also saw
Aboriginal people making great efforts to improve their
communities, but noted that their efforts are often stifled
by inappropriate and inflexible policies that fail to
empower the most effective, local solutions.
I would urge a fundamental rethink of the measures being
taken under the Northern Territory Emergency Response.
There should be a major effort to ensure not just
consultation with the communities concerned in any future
measures, but also their consent and active participation.
Such a course of action would be in line with the UN

– Audio

ABC PM: UN commissioner still critical of Malaysia deal
25 May 11: “ALEXANDRA KIRK: And she’s spoken about the
concerns of Indigenous Australians critical of the
Government’s Northern intervention policy. Navi Pillay’s
impressed with the intentions of Indigenous Affairs
Minister Jenny Macklin and the amount of money the
Government’s allocated to Indigenous programs, but:
NAVI PILLAY: I’m concerned that some measures appear to
remain discriminatory in practice. The legislation
underpinning the intervention will expire next year and I
think this is then an important opportunity for the
government not just to consult with the Aboriginal
community but to gain their consent and their participation
in any future measures.”

– News

Australian: Intervention needs rethink:
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
26 May 11: “THE UN’s top human rights official has called
on the Gillard government to fundamentally rethink the
indigenous intervention, saying it had caused deep hurt and
pain to Aborigines. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay says she met a number of indigenous communities
during her time in Australia and they claimed government
staff had an “imperialist attitude” and that the
intervention was discriminatory. … Ms Pillay said the
indigenous people she met had told her income management
and housing programs were not working well.”

Herald Sun: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner
accuses Australia of racism
26 May 11: “A fundamental rethink of measures taken under
the Northern Territory Emergency Response was also needed,
Ms Pillay said, due to “inappropriate and inflexible
policies” forced upon Aboriginals.”

ABC Radio Australia News:
Australia defends mandatory detention policy for refugees
26 May 11: “‘Deep hurt’. Ms Pillay says the United Nations
has welcomed the apology to the Stolen Generations
delivered by then-prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2008 and
investment in Aboriginal education. But she says when she
spoke to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, she
could “sense the deep hurt and pain that they have suffered
because of government policies that are imposed on them”.

UN News Centre: Australia: UN urges rethink of policies
on indigenous peoples and asylum-seekers
25 May 11: “Ms. Pillay noted that the treatment of
Australia’s indigenous peoples and asylum-seekers are the
two main human rights issues which are a constant source of
friction in the country and of attention abroad. … She
also urged a “fundamental rethink” of the measures being
taken under the Northern Territory Emergency Response – a
set of laws and related Government initiatives implemented
in 2007 that were aimed at addressing conditions faced by
indigenous peoples in that region of the country but which
also drew heavy criticism for being discriminatory.”

BBC: Australia: UN chief Navi Pillay attacks asylum policy
25 May 11: “The UN human rights commissioner has launched a
scathing attack on Australia’s policy towards “boat people”
and its indigenous population. … On the question of
aboriginal rights she was just as scathing. She criticised
what she called inappropriate and inflexible policies that
had caused deep hurt and pain.”

ABC: Call for ‘fundamental rethink’ on intervention
25 May 11: “The United Nations is urging the Federal
Government to have a “fundamental rethink” on the Northern
Territory intervention.”

ABC: UN rights chief attacks ‘disturbing’ policies
25 May 11: “… she [UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi
Pillay] said when she spoke to Aboriginal people in the
Northern Territory, she could “sense the deep hurt and pain
that they have suffered because of government policies that
are imposed on them”. She said “inappropriate and
inflexible” policies were stifling efforts by Indigenous
people to improve their communities with effective local
solutions and urged a rethink of the intervention. “There
should be a major effort to ensure not just consultation
with the communities concerned in any future measures, but
also their consent and active participation,” she said.”

Reuters: U.N. rights chief raps Australia on refugees, racism
25 May 11: “The United Nations’ top human rights watchdog
on Wednesday attacked Australia’s tough refugee policies
and the treatment of outback Aborigines, saying there was a
strong undercurrent of racism in the country. … She also
criticised an “intervention” policy introduced by the
former conservative government and continued by Gillard
which places controls on welfare spending for Aborigines to
help fight alcohol and child sex abuse in remote outback

Catholic Leader: UN NT probe
29 May 11: “A TOP United Nations official’s Australian
visit to investigate the Federal Government’s Northern
Territory Intervention has been welcomed by the head of a
ministry to Aboriginal Catholics. Sydney archdiocese’s
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry executive officer Graeme
Mundine said the visit by UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Navi Pillay was “a good thing” and he hoped
representatives of other similar groups such as Amnesty
International would do the same.”

News Rickey: UN criticizes Australia’s policies on
indigenous peoples and refugees
25 May 11: “A top United Nations official on Wednesday
urged Australia to rethink its policies towards indigenous
peoples and asylum-seekers. “The issues of indigenous
disadvantage and the treatment of asylum-seekers need to
be tackled through a human rights-based approach, not
driven by short-term electoral advantage and political
goals,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
told a press conference in Canberra at the end of her
six-day visit.”

– Related Video

ABC 7.30 NT: Intervention fight
Hosted by Laetitia Lemke
20 May 11: “A senior elder from Elcho Island has taken his
fight against the NT Intervention to the UK and Europe.”
[Includes footage of Navi Pillay meeting with Aboriginal
leaders in Darwin]

– Related Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 23-05-2011
23 May 11: “The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner
Navi Pillay met with a delegation of Aboriginal elders in
Darwin late last week and heard their calls for an end to
the Northern Territory Intervention and for the restoration
of their rights.”

– Related News

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Australian hearts need to be humane
24 May 11: “”I am coming here to appeal to Australian
hearts to be humane to the treatment of asylum seekers,”
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi
Pillay told a 1500-strong crowd that packed Sydney Town
Hall last night. … Commission President Catherine Branson
QC said there was a pressing need in Australia for an
informed debate on issues that touch on respect for
individuals and groups in our community. “The Northern
Territory Emergency Response Act – and its future – is one
such issue and immigration and refugee policy is another,”
Ms Branson said. … Professor Dodson delivered a blunt
assessment on the Northern Territory Intervention as a
failure and warned that policies and programs would
continue to fail as long as they were developed by
Canberra and imposed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples.”

Age: Intervention facing UN criticism
23 May 11: “Northern Territory Aboriginal leaders have told
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that
things have got worse under the intervention imposed by the
Howard government in 2007. ”There is greater
discrimination against them,” Ms Pillay said they told
her. ”Firstly, they said there’s been an intervention and
it started off badly without them being consulted, and
secondly, there is insufficient respect for their land,”
she said. Ms Pillay said the Aborigines told her they were
under pressure from the Gillard government to sign 99-year
leases over their land.” Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin

National Indigenous Radio Service:
UN investigates Federal Intervention
23 May 11: “The Federal Intervention will come under
international scrutiny this week, with a top United Nations
official set to criticise a lack of rights for Aboriginal
people. … The UN High Commissioner told journalists she
would reveal her views about the intervention at a news
conference in Canberra on Wednesday, at the end of a
six-day Australian visit.”

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Elders call on UN support for human rights
23 May 11: “On Friday Aboriginal Elders in Darwin presented
the UN Human Rights Commissioner a letter signed by almost
six and a half thousand Australians from across the
country, calling for her support in restoring the rights of
Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. … Aboriginal
people travelled long distances from across the Northern
Territory to take the opportunity to ask for the
Commissioner’s support in calling for the restoration of
their rights.”

SMH: It was right to step in, Howard insists
21 May 11: “JOHN HOWARD says he would have done nothing
different on the intervention, which was ”absolutely
necessary”. The ”lack of responsibility and the failures
of the Northern Territory government were appalling”, the
former prime minister said. … Mr Wild [Rex Wild] said
this week the imposition of policies from Canberra did not
work. … The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay,
visiting Australia yesterday said indigenous elders told
her that ”things had got worse” since the intervention.”


WGAR News: UN Human Rights High Commissioner hears from NT Aboriginal leaders (21 May 11)


– Video

ABC 7.30 NT: Intervention fight
Hosted by Laetitia Lemke
20 May 11: “A senior elder from Elcho Island has taken his
fight against the NT Intervention to the UK and Europe.”


WGAR News: Aboriginal elder raises international awareness of the NT Intervention (14 May 11)

WGAR News: Global call to action for Aboriginal rights in Australia (17 May 11)


– Media Release

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA):
‘Sorry’ – Still Living On Borrowed Time
24 May 11: “As National Sorry Day approaches, the North
Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) considers
there is still more work to be done to achieve meaningful
justice for the Stolen Generations. …
Ms. Fox [NAAJA’s Chairperson] said that ‘the Intervention
is an example of policy which was made without talking to
Aboriginal people. It is policy which again disempowers
Aboriginal people and leaves Aboriginal people feeling like
they are second class citizens.’
‘If the Government was really concerned about the situation
in Aboriginal communities, they would have done what the
Little Children Are Sacred report recommended, and
consulted with Aboriginal people.’
‘So even though the Rudd Labor Government said ‘Sorry’,
the Intervention shows that they haven’t followed through
with making sure their actions reflect this important

– Review & Photo Gallery

SMH: Disputed territory
21 May 11: “In the first of a series, Lindsay Murdoch
reviews the successes – and failures – of the federal
intervention, four years on. … ”

– News

SMH: Abbott and Gillard should tour NT: Wyatt
25 May 11: “Liberal backbencher Ken Wyatt has called on his
boss Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Julia Gillard to visit
the Northern Territory together and develop a long-term
bipartisan plan to tackle indigenous disadvantage. Mr
Wyatt, the first Aborigine elected to the lower house of
federal parliament, … “If you want to change something,
work with people. I would’ve preferred to have seen
government agencies sit down with the affected communities
and work through solutions.” [Mr. Wyatt said]”

SMH: Next time talk to the people, commissioner says
24 May 11: “THE Northern Territory intervention has
perpetuated a culture of ”learnt helplessness” among
indigenous people, says the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Island Social Justice commissioner, Mick Gooda. After a
tour of the Alice Springs region, home to 39,000 indigenous
people, Mr Gooda said he supported the emergency
intervention but its implementation had left people
believing they were being bypassed and ignored.”

Koori Mail: Minister: Licensed stores are helping
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
24 May 11: “THE Federal Government says store licensing in
the Northern Territory is giving people in remote
communities better access to healthy, affordable food.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says an
independent report has found that a majority of stores
licensed under the NT Intervention were selling more varied
fresh fruit and vegetables, store management had improved,
and there’d been a high level of compliance with the income
management requirements for stores.”

Australian: ALP vows tougher NT grog curbs
24 May 11: “THE Gillard government yesterday pledged to
strengthen alcohol restrictions in Northern Territory
indigenous communities. After reports the government was
considering winding back the drink bans, Indigenous Affairs
Minister Jenny Macklin said yesterday that on the contrary,
she was committed to tougher restrictions on alcohol.”

Age: Macklin could end NT grog ban
23 May 11: “INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin is
under pressure to wind back alcohol bans as part of radical
reforms she is considering to curb the devastating impact
of ”rivers of grog” in remote indigenous communities and
towns in the Northern Territory. The reforms include
allowing strictly controlled ”wet canteens” in remote
communities, lifting the floor price for alcohol in Alice
Springs and making some town camps ”gated” to keep out
drunks and unwelcome visitors.”

Australian: Income management a surprise for trial town
21 May 11: “”TOUGH love” initiatives in the federal budget
to extend income management across Australia have come as a
surprise to Shepparton in northern Victoria, one of the
five trial towns. Mayor Geoff Dobson and the heads of
welfare agencies in the town said the first they heard of
the Northern Territory-like initiative was when it was
announced in the budget and several agency heads were
concerned how it would be implemented.”


Creative Spirits:
Northern Territory Emergence Response (NTER)
– “The Intervention”:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Northern Territory National Emergency Response:

Treaty Republic – NT Intervention:

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group):
Mparntwe – Alice Springs:

CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association)
– NT Intervention:

ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation)
– NT intervention:

The Greens: Rachel Siewert: Northern Territory Intervention:

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):

Crikey – NT Intervention:

Jobs with Justice:

MAIC (Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective):

‘concerned Australians’:
Without Justice there can be no Reconciliation:

New Matilda – northern territory intervention:

Amnesty International Australia:
Looking back at the Northern Territory Intervention:

Defending Indigenous Rights:

Intervention walk-off’s Blog:

Australian Human Rights Commission:
Northern Territory ‘Emergency Response’ intervention:

FAIRA; Human Rights Law Resource Centre; NACLC:
Australia’s compliance with CERD – Fact Sheet 2:
Northern Territory Intervention:

Green Left: Northern Territory intervention: myths and facts:

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights):


– Audio

ABC AM: Calls for a national rethink on juvenile justice
25 May 11: “The head of the St Vincent de Paul Society in
New South Wales says it must be recognised that juvenile
justice in Australia is an Aboriginal problem and it must
be dealt with accordingly. He was one of the participants
in a forum in Sydney last night which heard that each
young Australian offender costs hundreds of thousands of
dollars a year to keep in detention and that it’s far
cheaper to deal with them in the community. A national
report on young people in detention soon to be released
calls on the Federal Government to adopt a radical
preventative approach.”

– News

Australian: Survey raises the option of Aboriginal MP quota
21 May 11: “INDIGENOUS Australians have been asked whether
they want a guaranteed number of seats in federal
parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, as
part of changes to the Constitution to be voted on at a
referendum in 2013. The new National Congress of
Australia’s First Peoples yesterday sent a survey out to
indigenous people and organisations, effectively asking
them to vote for which options they prefer to be part of
the constitutional change.”

– Analysis / Opinion

Australian: Speaking one’s mother tongue is vital
21 May 11: “Education in Australian languages is not new;
but teaching in Australian languages should not be done
primarily because some children know too little English
when they start school. It should also be done where
children know more English, or predominantly or only
English: this is the principle of the culture domain in
Cape York, where languages are dying. Teaching children in
Australian languages is only one instance of speaking to
children in Australian languages so that they learn them as
their mother tongues. If children do not learn Australian
languages as mother tongues, Australian cultures cannot
live.” Noel Pearson

– New Website

You Me Unity: About Updating the Australian Constitution
“The Constitution is the basis for our laws and political
system and represents the values that define us as a
nation. A lot has changed since the Constitution was
written in 1901. Nowadays many Australians would be
surprised to know that the Constitution still includes the
possibility for discrimination based on your race, and
ignores Australia’s first peoples and their role as
custodians of the world’s oldest continuing culture. The
Australian people have the power to update the
Constitution through a referendum so that it better
reflects our shared values. In light of this The Panel has
been appointed by the Government to consult with the people
and lead a nationwide discussion on the issue.”


WGAR News: Proposal to recognise Aboriginal people in the Constitution; Jenny Macklin has ruled out a treaty (16 Nov 10)

WGAR News: [Quasi] Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians (21 May 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/05/21/wgar-news-un-human-rights-high-commissioner-hears-from-nt-aboriginal-leaders

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