12/08/2011 Amnesty International Australia: Aboriginal Peoples’ right to homelands in the NT

* Amnesty International Australia:
Aboriginal Peoples’ right to homelands in the NT
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention


– Amnesty Report

Amnesty International Australia:
Our report: Aboriginal Peoples’ right to homelands
9 Aug 11: “For over three years we partnered with the
Alyawarr and Anmatyerr communities of Utopia homelands to
develop our report. “‘The land holds us:’ Aboriginal
Peoples’ right to traditional homelands in the Northern
Our report highlights the way specific policies on
homelands in the Northern Territory undermine the rights of
Aboriginal communities, including:
* All Indigenous peoples have the fundamental human right
to their traditional lands. …
* This report documents the efforts of the Alyawarr and
Anmatyerr Peoples of the Utopia homelands in Central
Australia to live a healthy life on their homelands, …
* These policy initiatives fall below international human
rights standards, in particular the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. … ”
[Click on the above link to expand on these points and
read many more points made.]
[You can also download the executive summary of the report
or the full report from this web-page:
http://www.amnesty.org.au/indigenous-rights/comments/26216 ]

– Amnesty News

Amnesty International Australia:
Amnesty International warns against government return to
assimilation era
9 Aug 11: “Starving Aboriginal communities of essential
services will effectively force families to abandon their
traditional land and move into larger towns and cities.
Amnesty International accuses the federal and Northern
Territory governments of policies that echo Australia’s
failed assimilation era by stripping traditional Indigenous
communities – ‘homelands’ – of funds.
The criticisms are made in a new Amnesty International
research report ‘The land holds us’: Aboriginal peoples’
rights to traditional homelands in the Northern Territory
released in Canberra today.”

Amnesty International:
Traditional Indigenous communities abandoned by
government in Australia
8 Aug 11: “Starved of essential services, Aboriginal people
living in traditional Indigenous communities in Australia’s
Northern Territory will effectively be forced to abandon
their homelands and move into larger towns.
The warning is made in a new Amnesty International research
report, “The land holds us”: Aboriginal peoples’ rights to
traditional homelands released today.
The report documents how Aboriginal peoples’ rights to
traditional lands, culture, informed consent and adequate
housing are being undermined in Australia.”

– Amnesty Slideshow

Amnesty International Australia: Homelands in pictures

– Amnesty Video

Amnesty International Australia: Video: I am my homelands

– Amnesty Stories

Amnesty International Australia:
Meet the people living in homelands communities

– Amnesty Homelands index page

Amnesty International Australia: Homelands
“* Video: There’s no place like homelands
* What are homelands?
* Meet the people of Utopia homelands
* A message from Rosalie, Alyawarr/Anmatyerr elder
* Our report: Aboriginal Peoples’ right to homelands
* 5 facts about homelands”

– Edited extract of forward from Amnesty Report

ABC Indigenous – Your Voice: The land holds us
By Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
9 Aug 11: “I can look back over 70 years on this part of
the land. There was a richness of the relationships between
people so you felt never alone. You felt secure, you felt
you belonged. You also felt, from an early age, your
responsibility, not only to the flora and fauna but to the
song lines which tied you to the land. The land, we always
said pmerel atnyenem, we never said pmer nhenh tha
atnyenem. That means, country owns or holds you, not you
holding the country and becoming master of the land. The
land was your mother, your father and everything else. … ”
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
“Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, an Alyawarr/Anmatyerr elder, is
from the Utopia homelands in NT.”

– Video

SBS: Indigenous extinction warning
“Amnesty International warns small Indigenous communities
in the Northern Territory are heading for extinction.”

– Media Releases

Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation:
ANTaR backs calls to support homeland communities
9 Aug 11: “ANTaR supports Amnesty International Australia’s
call for governments to support the right of Aboriginal
people to live on their traditional homelands.
“Recent funding changes affecting remote community housing,
infrastructure and services pose a serious threat to the
viability of Aboriginal homelands communities and
outstations in the Northern Territory,” said Jacqueline
Phillips, ANTaR National Director.
“As a result of recent reforms, funding for remote service
delivery is directed to larger communities while leaving
smaller communities out in the cold. This is despite the
proven health benefits of living on homelands.”
In particular, homeland communities will no longer receive
any funding for new housing and only very limited funding
for housing maintenance. This is despite severe
overcrowding and a backlog of housing need.”

‘concerned Australians’:
Homelands Report Drowning In Commonwealth Government
Family’s Hidden Agendas
9 Aug 11: “Is it a coincidence the Government Strategic
Review of Indigenous Expenditure is brought into the public
forum just two days before the launching of Amnesty’s
Homeland Report?
The Amnesty report gives focus to the wishes of Northern
Territory Aboriginal people, that homelands be recognised
as places where the people are able to live their
traditional lives on their own estates, where they can
fulfill their ceremonial duties, care for their land and
protect their culture, language and law.
These rights are recognised in the Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was given formal
support by Australia in 2009. …
The Amnesty Report and its recommendations must be given
full consideration.”

Rachel Siewert: Greens vow to fight for indigenous
communities as second report highlights policy failures
9 Aug 11: “The Australian Greens have vowed to continue
fighting for Aboriginal communities after an Amnesty
International report condemned the Federal Government’s
abandonment of remote communities in the NT in favour of
‘growth towns’.
The Amnesty report comes just one day after another highly
critical report revealed the expensive gap between policy
intent and implementation.
“I welcome the spotlight being returned to examine the
state of Aboriginal housing, health, education and
disadvantage in this country,” Senator Rachel Siewert,
Greens Spokesperson for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Issues said today.”

– Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News
10 Aug 11: “An Amnesty International report which is
critical of both the NT and Federal Governments for a
reduction of services to Aboriginal homelands in the
Northern Territory will be presented at a gathering of 157
nations later this week.”

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 09-08-2011
9 Aug 11: “* Amnesty International accuses Territory and
Federal Governments of return to failed assimilation
* Federal Government spending on programs for Aboriginal
people has been wasted and past attempts to fix Indigenous
disadvantage have clearly failed according to an internal
review prepared for Cabinet by the Finance Department.
* Top end senior elder Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, has
challenged a suggestion contained in the report that future
funding for the homelands should be reviewed.”

The Wire: Amnesty says Indigenous “hub towns” in the
Northern Territory won’t work
[scroll down page] http://www.thewire.org.au/daydetail.aspx?SearchDay=2011-08-09
9 Aug 11: “A few years ago, the Northern Territory
Government said they would invest in the twenty one of the
biggest indigenous communities across the territory,
building houses and infrastructure and using those towns to
provide help to even more remote communities. Amnesty
International has today slammed this policy in a report,
saying that developing bigger “hub towns” is driving
indigenous people away from their traditional lands, and
has disastrous effects on Aboriginal communities in the

ABC AM: Amnesty report: Hands off our homelands
9 Aug 11: “In recent weeks AM reported on an appeal from
the Northern Territory Government to the Commonwealth to
support hundreds of Aboriginal outstations that are home to
about 20,000 people. So far, the Federal Government has
refused to continue funding the homelands. With the help of
one of Australia’s first Aboriginal movie stars [Rosalie
Kunoth-Monks], Amnesty International today is launching a
report backing the argument that homelands are the safest
and healthiest places for Aboriginal people to live.”
[Includes comments by Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.]

– News

Age: Film star turned politician blasts intervention
10 Aug 11: “FORMER film star now local politician Rosalie
Kunoth-Monks, says the Northern Territory intervention is a
”huge violation of human rights” that has seen indigenous
people driven off their traditional lands and onto
reservations like American Indians. … In Canberra
yesterday for the release of an Amnesty International
report advocating indigenous people’s rights to remain on
their homelands, Ms Kunoth-Monks said she had been
fortunate enough to retain her language despite having a
mainstream education in the 1950s.”

National Indigenous Radio Service:
Support small communities: ANTaR
10 Aug 11: “Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation
(ANTaR) is supporting Amnesty International Australia’s
calls for governments to support the right of Aboriginal
people to live in their traditional homelands. ANTaR
National Director Jacqueline Phillips says recent funding
changes affecting remote community housing, infrastructure
and services pose a serious threat to the viability of
Aboriginal homelands. Ms Phillips says as a result of
recent reforms, funding for remote service delivery is
directed to larger communities while leaving smaller
communities out in the cold.”

Haveeru: Aborigines being driven off homelands: Amnesty
9 Aug 11: “Australia’s Aborigines are being forced off
their traditional land because of government policy,
despite the fact they would live longer if they stayed put,
Amnesty International claimed Tuesday. The human rights
organisation studied small groups in the central desert
region and found those choosing to live on their ancestral
lands were effectively denied services such as public
housing due to a government emphasis on bigger towns.”

Age: Amnesty condemns Aboriginal policy
9 Aug 11: “GOVERNMENT policies are driving Aborigines from
the homelands where they stand the best chance of healthy
fulfilling lives, a deeply critical report has found. Two
days after the release of a scathing internal government
report, which found spending on indigenous projects ”has
yielded dismally poor returns to date”, Amnesty
International has found the policies of the Gillard and
Northern Territory governments ”fall below international
human rights standards”.” Tim Lester and Richard Willingham

9 News: NT Aborigines driven out of homelands
9 Aug 11: “Northern Territory Aborigines are being driven
off their traditional homelands and herded into “hub towns”
where the federal and NT governments are splashing out cash
for resources and services, Amnesty International claims.
The human rights organisation has profiled the Alyawarr and
Anmatyerr people of the Central Australian homeland
communities of Utopia. … In its report to be released on
Tuesday, Amnesty International slams the federal and NT
Government’s Closing the Gap policy that concentrates
investment into 21 of the largest settlements.” Lisa Martin

– Related Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 11-08-11
11 Aug 11: “The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny
Macklin says the Gillard Labor Government is making an
effort to support remote Aboriginal homelands and
outstations through its working on country program.”

Macklin says Goverment is supportive of Aboriginal homelands
10 Aug 11: “The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny
Macklin, says the Federal Government is making an effort to
support remote Aboriginal homelands and outstations. Her
comments come as Amnesty International accuses the
Territory and Federal governments of starving the
communities of funds. The head of the Northern Land Council
says governments have underestimated both the importance
and the value of the homelands. … The CEO of the Northern
Land Council, Kim Hill, says there are plenty of good
reasons to support the homelands.”
[Includes comments by Kim Hill and Jenny Macklin.]

– Related News

ABC: NT outstation residents ‘healthier, happier’
10 Aug 11: “The Northern Land Council says the Federal
Government should heed reports that show Aboriginal people
living on outstations are healthier and happier than those
living in communities and towns. Funding for remote
outstations in the Northern Territory runs out next year
and the money will be funnelled towards developing
essential services in 20 towns. The land council’s CEO,
Kim Hill, says the evidence is staring the Government in
the face.”

ABC: Remote communities labelled hellholes
9 Aug 11: “The Northern Territory Opposition has labelled
some remote Aboriginal communities as “disgraceful
hellholes”, despite the high level of Federal and Territory
investment. … The Federal and Territory governments are
set to stop funding remote outstations when the
intervention ends next year, choosing instead to direct
money to 21 of the biggest communities. But Amnesty
International, which has recently joined a campaign to
boost funding for Aboriginal people in remote communities,
says there are more Aborigines living on remote
outstations than those in the targeted communities.”

– Related Analysis / Opinion

Alice Springs News:
Amnesty’s Utopia report full of omissions and misrepresentations
9 Aug 11: “Today human rights organisation Amnesty
International released what it calls a research report,
focussed on the changes in government policy, particularly
since the NT Intervention, that have affected the Utopia
homelands. These are 16 small Aboriginal settlements
dispersed across 3500 square kilometres either side of the
mostly dry Sandover River, to the north-weast of Alice
Springs. The central thrust of the report, titled The Lands
Hold Us, is that government policy with respect to housing
is denying the people of the homelands … the right to
their traditional lands.” Kieran Finnane


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:

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney):

The Greens: Rachel Siewert: Northern Territory Intervention:

Treaty Republic – NT Intervention:

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

New Matilda – northern territory intervention:

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

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

Crikey – NT Intervention:

Jobs with Justice:

MAIC (Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective):

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

Students For Indigenous Rights – UQ:
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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