WGAR News: UN expert visits Australia to report on Aboriginal human rights (18 Aug 09)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

UN Expert visits Australia to report on Aboriginal Human Rights
Aboriginal Housing in the NT
Other Aboriginal articles


- Media Releases

UN Official to Report on Aboriginal Human Rights
17 Aug 09: "Prof. James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Human Rights is visiting various centres in Australia over the next two weeks. His task will be to report back to the UN. Several thousand Aboriginal people from across the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia, indigenous organisations, church leaders and local parishes, community and church social justice groups, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) and other organisations, as well as many ordinary citizens have signed a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur. The visit coincides with Government efforts to convince Aboriginal communities through a flawed consultation process, that special measures to restrict their human rights are acceptable."

United Nations - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
UN Expert on Indigenous People to visit Australia
11 Aug 09: "The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, James Anaya, will visit Australia, 17 to 28 August, at the invitation of the Government. “During my the twelve-day mission, I will investigate and report on the major challenges faced by indigenous peoples of the country in the enjoyment of their human rights,” said Professor Anaya, “with a view toward contributing to steps to address those problems, as well as to identify good practices,” The Special Rapporteur will travel to Canberra and to Adelaide, Perth, Alice Springs, Darwin, Groote Eylandt, Cairns, Sydney, and Brisbane to hold discussions with government representatives, indigenous communities and civil society groups on the human rights of indigenous peoples. A press conference will be held in Canberra at the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur’s visit - on Thursday, 27 August, with additional information to follow. Professor Anaya will present the visit’s findings in a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council."

Wiktionary, the Free Dictionary definition:
rapporteur - a person appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue or a situation, and report back to that body.

- Submissions to UN Rapporteur

Australia gets bad rap to UN rapporteur over Aborigines
17 Aug 09: "A northwest NSW Aboriginal leader has put a submission to a visiting high United Nations official on indigenous rights, alleging that Australian governments are trying to wipe out Aboriginal identity. Michael Anderson, leader of the Euahlayi Nation of northwest NSW and southwest Queensland and elected spokesman of the 16 tribes in the Gumilaroi nation had a meeting scheduled in Canberra today with Professor James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and freedoms of Indigenous Peoples. ... Recommendations: That the UN Special Rapporteur investigate all Acts of the Australian Federal Parliament that deal with and impact upon Aboriginal Peoples and report all violations within to the CERD, CESCR and any other UN treaty body whose articles are violated."

Indigenous People's Organisations Network of Australia: Submission to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people – Australian mission
17-28 Aug 09: "The Australian Human Rights and Commission has made a submission on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples Organisation Network (IPON) of Australia to Professor S. James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, on the current status of Indigenous human rights in Australia for his Mission to Australia which is taking place from 17-28 August 2009. Additional information supplied by the National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia is included as Appendix 3 of this submission."

- News

National Indigenous Times:
UN Indigenous expert touches down to look at intervention
17 Aug 09: "Aboriginal groups, church leaders and social justice groups have invited the United Nations to investigate whether the intervention in the Northern Territory is a violation of human rights. UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya, will visit Aboriginal communities in the NT over the next two weeks according to a statement by the groups on Monday. ... One of the groups, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTAR), says it wants Prof Anaya to insist human rights principles as set out in the UN convention against racial discrimination be applied. And that the government re-instate the Racial Discrimination Act without "special measures"."

Economic Times: UN probes Aboriginal discrimination allegations
17 Aug 09: "A United Nations indigenous rights expert said Monday that Australian government policy to stamp out child abuse in Outback communities appeared to discriminate against Aborigines. But the U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, James Anaya, said he would reserve his judgment on the government's intervention in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory until the end of a 12-day fact-finding mission that officially began on Monday."

9 News: UN expert examines NT intervention
17 Aug 09: "Suspending the Racial Discrimination Act to enable the Northern Territory intervention to proceed was, on the face of it, itself discriminatory, the United Nations' special rapporteur on indigenous human rights says. Professor James Anaya believes there's a prima facie case that suspending the act is discriminatory, but he's yet to make up his mind that if doing so is in the best interests of Australia's indigenous people."

ABC: UN probes human rights in Aboriginal camps
17 Aug 09: "Professor James Anaya, the UN's special rapporteur on Indigenous human rights, will visit a number of town camps and Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory and other parts of Australia. It is expected he will meet with a number of groups to raise concerns about the Federal Government's Northern Territory intervention, as well as the Government itself, before reporting back to the UN."

Bloomberg: Aborigines Demand End to Controls as UN Envoy Visits
17 Aug 09: "Australian Aboriginal groups are demanding the government lifts its control of dozens of Outback communities as a United Nations envoy begins a 12-day mission to probe human rights in the country. ... More than 3,000 people have signed a letter to James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, decrying the “discriminatory” policy, under which welfare payments are held by government officials to ensure money is spent on food."

BBC: UN investigates Australia rights
17 Aug 09: "A senior United Nations official is in Australia to investigate complaints by Aboriginal communities that the government is violating their rights. ... A coalition of Aboriginal groups, church organisations and human rights activists say that the government intervention into Aboriginal communities, launched in 2007, is racially discriminatory."

Jerusalem Post: UN rep visits Australia to probe Aboriginal discrimination claims
17 Aug 09: "A United Nations representative is visiting Australia to investigate complaints that a government crackdown on child abuse in Outback settlements is violating Aborigines' human rights. ... Activists say these measures violate human rights because they target Aborigines only."

ABC Radio Australia News: UN indigenous affairs inspector in Australia
16 Aug 09: "The United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Affairs has begun a 12-day visit to Australia. He will report to the UN Human Rights Council on the situation of Australia's indigenous people. Professor James Anaya will travel to urban and remote areas to meet government and indigenous representatives, as well as civil society groups."

- Radio

ABC AM: United Nations to report on Aboriginal communities
17 Aug 09: "A special investigator from the United Nations today begins a two-week examination of Aboriginal communities in Australia. Professor James Anaya the UN special rapporteur will report back to the United Nations after his tour which will take in a number of town camps and Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory as well as other parts of Australia. ... More than 3,000 letters from Indigenous people and community groups will be presented to the United Nations special rapporteur on Indigenous human rights. The letters detail their concerns that the Northern Territory intervention is racially discriminatory."
[includes comments by David Cooper of ANTaR]


- Photo stories

Australian: Frank Anderson's story
15 Aug 09: "Frank Anderson and Mary Johnny live in a tin shack at the back of the Wuppa Town camp in Tennant Creek, NT"

Australian: Helen Limbiari's story
15 Aug 09: "Helen Limbiari can have up to 40 family family members in her house on Marla-Marla Town Camp"

- News

Australian: Plenty of talk, but people still live in broken homes
15 Aug 09: "AS she sits in her decrepit house holding a baby, Ruth Kerinauia is blissfully unaware of her terrible poverty. For her, broken windows and faulty plumbing systems are nothing new, and nobody ever comes to fix them."

Australian: Town camp residents 'happy' to live in filth
15 Aug 09: "GOVERNMENT and Aboriginal council officials insist indigenous people living in filthy, overcrowded "town camps" on the outskirts of remote Northern Territory towns such as Tennant Creek are happy that there are not any new houses for them. ... the story on the ground, from the people living in appalling conditions in seven town camps around Tennant Creek, 500km north of Alice Springs, is much different."


- Video

that munanga linguist: Another video - this time in Yolnu Matha - rather powerful
29 May 09: "Created in response to the Northern Territory and Federal Government's continued attempts to close down Indigenous Homeland communities. Yolngu and other Indigenous people have been living on their Homelands since before Settlement. Since missionary days they have asserted their desire to remain on their own traditional country."

- Facebook

Facebook: Supporters of Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory
"On October 14, 2008, the then NT Minister for Education Marion Scrymgour announced that the first four hours of education in all NT Schools will be delivered in English. This put an end to 34 years of Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory by ending the 10 remaining programs. In 2009, hundreds of Indigenous Language speaking students will be taught in a foreign language for almost all their school day. The main platforms advocating for the continued existence of Bilingual Education are: ... "

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)