29/05/2011 Interview with UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, on the NT Intervention

* Interview with UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay,
on the Northern Territory Intervention
* Ethnocide – A Crime Equal to Genocide:
Submission to Navi Pillay by Michael Anderson
* Other Northern Territory (NT) Intervention articles
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention


– Audio Interview

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
Exclusive Interview:
United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay
26 May 11: “The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner
Navi Pillay has urged the Gillard Labor Government for a
fundamental rethink of the measures imposed on Aboriginal
people under the Northern Territory Emergency Response. In
an exclusive interview with CAAMA radio the UN High
Commissioner has acknowledged the Government advances to
address disadvantage within the Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander community. But she is urging for a better
effort. Ms Pillay says following her visit to the Northern
Territory she now fully appreciates how Aboriginal people
feel, living under the Government policies imposed on them
by the Northern Territory Intervention.”

– Related Media Releases

Australia: Policies On Indigenous Peoples And Asylum-Seekers
26 May 11: “Press Release: United Nations
While stressing Australia’s long-standing commitment to
human rights, a top United Nations official today said the
country is failing to protect certain groups and urged it
to rethink its policies towards indigenous peoples and
“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. …
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

Rachel Siewert: Greens back UN criticism of the NT Intervention
26 May 11: “The Australian Greens have strongly endorsed
comments made by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay
calling on the Federal Government to take a new approach to
the NT Intervention.
“This is another damning criticism of the NT Intervention,
which again reflects poorly on Australian’s commitment to
human rights,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today. …
“Commissioner Pillay has recognised the importance of
taking action in partnership with communities and
developing programs and strategies through proper
“The Australian Greens remain absolutely committed to
seeing the RDA full restored and seeing the failed NTER
come to an end in favour of a new approach which learns
from the mistakes of successive Governments,” concluded
Senator Siewert.”

– Related News of Aboriginal women leaders

Katherine Times: Local women take issues to the top
25 May 11: “Navanethem (Navi) Pillay visited Darwin on
Friday for the meeting with Aboriginal leaders from across
the Territory. Miliwanga Sandy and Margaret Katherine were
there to represent the Jawoyn people while May Rosas was
there for Wardaman. The Commissioner came to listen to
their views about the Northern Territory Emergency Response
(NTER). In particular she wanted to know about how the
national apology and recognition of the UN Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous People has translated into policy
changes and about the impact of the NTER.” Tegan Forder

– Related International News

People’s Daily:
A Sorry Day for Australian race relations
27 May 11: “UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, an
anti-apartheid campaigner and international criminal court
judge was less optimistic, reserving her harshest criticism
for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Pillay expressed deep
concern about Australia’s indigenous affairs and the Labor
government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Malaysia for
refugee processing as reported by Xinhua this week.”

Daily Mail UK:
‘Racist’ Australia compared to Apartheid South Africa by
UN Human Rights commissioner
26 May 11: “The United Nations’ top human rights watchdog
has attacked Australia’s tough refugee policies and the
treatment of outback Aborigines, saying there was a strong
undercurrent of racism in the country. … The 69-year-old
is a former anti-apartheid campaigner and international
criminal court judge, and she was speaking to reporters at
the end of a six-day visit. … She also criticised an
‘intervention’ policy. It was introduced by the former
conservative government and continued by Gillard.”

Indian Express:
UN official likens ‘racist’ Australia to ‘apartheid’ SAfrica
26 May 11: “The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner
Navi Pillay has said there is a strong undercurrent of
racism in Australia because of the country’s tough refugee
policies and the treatment of Aborigines. … “I come from
South Africa and lived under this, and am every way
attuned to seeing racial discrimination,” The Daily Mail
quoted Pillay, as saying. “There is a racial discriminatory
element here which I see as rather inhumane treatment of
people, judged by their differences, racial, colour or
religions,” she added.”

Angola Press:
Australia and Malaysia reject UN refugees criticism
26 May 11: “Their comments followed scathing criticism of
the deal by the UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay.
Ahead of Australia’s annual apology to its indigenous
population, Ms Pillay also attacked Australian “racism”.”

UN rights chief criticizes Australia indigenous, asylum policies
25 May 11: “UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi
Pillay [official profile] on Wednesday a rebuked [text]
Australia for its political, rather than human rights based
approach to indigenous people and asylum-seekers. Although
she criticized some of the nation’s practices, she had
considerable praise for “a strong history of commitment to
human rights at the international level, and also of course
a robust system of democratic institutions.” Nonetheless,
she believes improvements are necessary in the realm of
treatment of Aborigines and immigrants.”

UN Radio:
Call for Australia to improve treatment of indigenous
people and asylum seekers
25 May 11: “Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, was speaking after a six-day visit to the country.
During that time she met with Aboriginal communities and
visited immigration detention centres. She praised the
Australian government’s efforts to promote the rights of
people with disabilities and older people, but she said
government policies were failing to recognise indigenous
people’s right to self-determination.”

– Related Videos

Australian Human Rights Commission: Human Rights 2011
“Date Monday, 23 May 2011 … Location Sydney Town Hall …
Video Highlights”
[Includes video of Navi Pillay and Aboriginal Elder Prof
Patrick Dodson speaking about the NT Intervention.]

Press TV: UN criticizes Australia over refugee policies
27 May 11: “Pillay said the two areas of concern are the
discrimination against Indigenous communities, and the
mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Pillay also visited
the Northern Territory, or NT, on the first day of her
visit. Aboriginal leaders told her that things are getting
worse since the government allowed intervention in the
indigenous communities, including how they spend their
money and where they spend it.”
[Includes video of Navi Pillay and Paddy Gibson.]

– Related Photos

AusHumanRights: Human Rights 2011
“Peak Human Rights event at Sydney Town Hall on 23 May
2011, featuring a panel discussion with UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, Aboriginal Elder
Professor Patrick Dodson and Victorian Foundation for
Survivors of Torture Paris Aristotle AM. The event
concluded with a performance by Bangarra Dance Theatre.”

– Related Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 26-05-2011
26 May 11: “The United Nations Human Rights commissioner
Navi Pillay has urged the Gillard Labor Government for a
fundamental rethink of the measures imposed on Aboriginal
people under the Northern Territory Emergency Response.”

– Related Local News

Koori Mail: UN criticisms on the money, says Siewert
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
26 May 11: “THE Australian Greens have strongly backed UN
Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s criticisms of the
NT Intervention. Greens Indigenous affairs spokesperson
Senator Rachel Siewert says Ms Pillay’s damning of the
controversial Intervention – not the first from the UN –
reflects poorly on Australian’s commitment to human rights,
and a new approach is needed. Senator Rachel Siewert says
the NT Intervention continues to discriminate, as does
‘lingering partial suspension’ of the Racial Discrimination

National Indigenous Radio Service:
UN urge Intervention rethink
26 May 11: “The United Nations is urging the federal
government to have a fundamental rethink on the Northern
Territory Intervention.”

CathNews: Praise for UN official’s visit to NT intervention
25 May 11: “A visit by a top UN official to investigate the
Federal Government’s Northern Territory Intervention was a
“good thing”, and others such as Amnesty International
should follow suit, an official from the Archdiocese of
Sydney’s Aboriginal Catholic Ministry has told the Catholic
Leader. … Upon her arrival in Darwin, UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was handed a
petition signed by 6500 Australians calling for her support
in restoring the rights of Aboriginal people in the
Northern Territory.”

Courier Mail: UN official attacks NT intervention
25 May 11: “”I would urge a fundamental rethink of the
measures being taken under the Northern Territory Emergency
Response,” she said. “The way the intervention was
initially imposed has clearly caused enormous anger, pain
and humiliation amongst the communities affected.” Mr
Pillay took particular aim at housing and income management
policies and urged better consultation with indigenous

Koori Mail: UN flays Govt on Indigenous rights
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
25 May 11: “PROGRESS on Indigenous rights and increased
funding for Indigenous programs is being undermined by the
Australian Government’s failure to recognise Indigenous
people’s rights to self-determination, according to an
international human rights expert. In Canberra today, the
United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
urged a ‘fundamental rethink’ on the Northern Territory
Intervention, which she said had caused deep hurt amongst
Aboriginal people.”


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

WGAR News: UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, criticises the NT Intervention (26 May 11)

Navi Pillay’s final media conference statement in Canberra (25 May 11):


– Submission

Ethnocide: A Crime Equal to Genocide
24 May 11: “Navanethem Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights …
Submission by Michael Anderson,
Leader of the Euahlayi Nation
Co-founder of the 1972 Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra
and Convenor of the New Way Summit …
Ethnocide …
Ethnocide is a notion that even the UN refuses to
acknowledge. But in order to do justice for Aboriginal
People, the main thing the UN can do for us is to make
Ethnocide a crime equal to Genocide and ratified by every
Nation throughout the world to prevent Australia from
refusing to become a party to that convention. There can be
no excuse for Ethnocide, just as there is no excuse in law
for murder and Genocide. …
No effective law against Genocide
Finally, we wish to draw your attention to the fact that
Australia has still not fully imported the Genocide
Convention into domestic law. Parts of the Genocide
Convention were imported into domestic law by way of the
International Criminal Court Consequential Amendments Act
2002, but only the Attorney-General can begin a genocide
case and if he/she refuses there is no right of appeal and
no reasons need to be given. [268.121 – 268.122]. This is
contrary to the intent of the long-standing Genocide
Convention, which Australia was the third country to sign.
We are requesting that the UN Human Rights Commission
strongly recommends that the Australian government imports
fully the Genocide Convention into domestic law.”


– Action

Desert Diaries: NT Intervention: 7 things you can do
26 May 11: “Excerpt from New Internationalist: http://www.newint.org/
The latest Reconciliation Barometer from Reconciliation
Australia indicates that we’re making progress on
reconciliation, with around half of the population agreeing
that the relationship between Indigenous people and other
Australians is improving. But there’s still a mountain to
climb to close the gap. Here are 7 things you can do: … “


New Internationalist shop: Teaching Resources: Classroom DVDs:
Our Generation
“The untold story of a hidden struggle through the eyes of
the Yolngu people. Hidden from the eyes of the world,
Australia’s First Peoples are fighting for freedom.
Our Generation is their call to the nation, a fresh and
unflinching look at unresolved issues, driven by the Yolngu
of Northeast Arnhem Land. From the ongoing controversy of
the Northern Territory Intervention, to being forced off
their traditional lands into larger townships crippled by
social dysfunction, to their languages being removed from
school education, to mining deals sidelining traditional
owners, the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory are
fighting for freedom. Our Generation is their untold story;
of a struggle hidden from the eyes of mainstream Australia.”


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

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

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

The Greens: Rachel Siewert: Northern Territory Intervention:

Treaty Republic – NT Intervention:

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

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

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