121210 – Working Group for Aboriginal Rights Human Rights Day open letter to PM Julia Gillard [media release]

MEDIA RELEASE 10 DECEMBER 2012
Working Group for Aboriginal Rights Human Rights Day open letter to PM Julia Gillard:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Parliament House
Parkes ACT 2600

Prime Minister,

The Working Group for Aboriginal Rights is calling on you and your government to change direction in your policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

We recommend you focus your strategies on the Theo van Boven principles of Reparation for Peoples who have suffered gross violations of Human Rights. His extensive work clarifies the remedial steps needed for people to recover from Human Rights abuses [UN ECOSOC Resolution 2005/30]. Apology is only the first step and the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is dependent, in our opinion, on all seven steps of the Theo van Boven principles being implemented: restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition and prevention.

The evidence is clear that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are still suffering gross violations of Human Rights and have done so since 1788 and it is now encumbent upon your government to finally change tack and begin to deal with the reality of Aboriginal Peoples’ continuing survival against all odds.

We are now at the stage where Aboriginal people understand the trickery within colonial history and the ingenious subtlety employed to conceal Australia’s lack of legitimate sovereignty. Consequently, many are now able to see through the deception of Minister Macklin’s Act of Recognition, just as many found PM Rudd’s apology very welcome, but somewhat hypocritical as the army was still moving into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as he made the landmark apology to the Stolen Generations. Many ask: Where is the apology to the communities who lost their children; land; language and ancient way of life, which has stood the test of time?

The fact that Aboriginal communities have among the highest suicide rate in the world is indicative of the distress caused by governments’ policy. The fact that no Australian government has fully implemented the 1949 Convention for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide shows there is something to hide.

We would like you to answer in writing the following questions:
1. When will you amend Section 268.121 – 268.122 of the International Criminal Court Consequential Amendments Act 2002, so that the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is fully incorporated into Australian domestic law.
2. When will you repeal the Act of Recognition and commence meaningful negotiations with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations and Peoples’ continuing sovereignty and seek just solutions?
3. Will you ensure that the Theo van Boven principles for Remedy and Restitution will be enacted for the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations and Peoples?
4. When will your government ensure self-determination for Northern Territory communities and withdraw the Intervention, now known as Stronger Futures?
We would appreciate your prompt reply to these issues, which affect not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, but also all Australians.

Yours faithfully,

Ffionnan Brooke-Watson
ffionnan@gmail.com
contactwgar@gmail.com
Convenor
Working Group for Aboriginal Rights

10 December 2012

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