WGAR News: Intervention Walk-off community seeks UN support (26 Aug 09)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

Intervention Walk-off community seeks UN support
Welcome to the Ampilatwatja walk off blog site
Updated NT Intervention complaint sent to United Nations
Visit by UN Expert, James Anaya
Alice Springs Aboriginal Town Camps takeover
Stolen Wages Campaign - Petition of Support
Other Aboriginal articles


- Media Release

Intervention walkoff's Blog: We are refugees in our own country
23 Aug 09: "Formal request made to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights to register us as refugees with the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, under the International Refugee Convention. ... Aboriginal people had no other option but to walk off the Prescribed Area, thereby removing them from being subject to the NTER legislation, and which additionally accords them the status of being internally displaced refugees. “We no longer have any rights to exist as humans in our own country and are outcasts in our own community”, says Richard Downs, spokesperson for the Alyawarra elders. ... "

- Letter

Intervention walkoff's Blog: Dear Professor Anaya
[scroll down page] http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/statements/
20 Aug 09: "Dear Professor Anaya. Today, across the Northern Territory, and since 2007, Indigenous people are facing a path of destruction through the denial of our basic human rights under the Federal government’s intervention. The Aboriginal people of Ampilatwatja, comprising 30 elders and members of the Alyawarra nation, walked off their community in July in protest against, and to remove themselves from, the Australian governments Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) legislation, which has subjected them to martial law, exercised by a military junta, since its enactment in 2007. ... " Richard Downs

- Statement

Intervention walkoff's Blog: Richard Downs, August 23, 2009
[scroll down page] http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/statements/
23 Aug 09: "We seek the support of the UN Special Rapporteur, Prof. James Anaya, and other international human rights bodies, to advise the Australian Government to recognize that, under Article 1, Indigenous people have the rights to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law; and Article 27, ... "

- Radio

CAAMA Radio afternoon news
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
25 Aug 09: "Aboriginal people in the N.T. claiming refugee status"

- News

ABC: Aboriginal people seek refugee status
26 Aug 09: "A group of Aboriginal people has asked the United Nations to register them as refugees, saying the Northern Territory intervention has made them outcasts in their own country. Richard Downs, a spokesperson for the Alyawarra Nation, which represents about 4000 people in central Australia, says the request was handed to the United Nations special rapporteur, who was visiting the Northern Territory last week."

Reuters [US]: Australia Aborigines ask UN for refugee status
25 Aug 09: "A group of Australian Aborigines asked the United Nations on Wednesday for refugee status, claiming special emergency laws to curb alcohol and sexual abuse in the remote outback have turned them into outcasts at home. ... "We've got no say at all. We feel like an outcast in our community, refugees in our own country," Downs told state radio."


- New website

Intervention walkoff's Blog
August 24, 2009: "This blog will be continually updated, so keep checking for more news and information, including photos and video of the walk off camp."

- Support Alyawarr people’s walk-off at Ampilatwatja

Intervention walkoff's Blog: Support us
August 24, 2009: "We’re writing to you from our protest camp in the desert, asking for your support in our struggle for basic services and rights that many in the cities take for granted. ... "


National Indigenous Times:
NT intervention complaint sent to United Nations... again
20 Aug 09: "A group of Aboriginal people have again taken their fight overseas, this time condemning the federal government for its deceit on its intervention consultations and Alice Springs town camp takeover in an updated complaint to the United Nations. ... Written on behalf of a group of Aboriginal people living in prescribed areas under the intervention, it says that the promised consultations had been limited and inadequate, that there had been "little progress" in drafting the redesigned intervention measures and that the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) remains suspended. It also mentions the Rudd government's compulsory acquisition of the Alice Springs town camp, saying that it is obvious the Commonwealth would have been unable to stage the move after the RDA is reinstated."


- Background

WGAR News:
UN Expert visits Australia to report on Aboriginal Human Rights (18 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
UN Expert James Anaya to examine NT Intervention (19 Aug 09)

WGAR News:
UN Rapporteur visits Aboriginal communities (23 Aug 09)

- Statement and Press Conference coming up

[Dear All, James Anaya's press conference is primarily for media but we spoke with the UN organisers and its OK for others to attend if you RSVP to Ms Francesca Wollaston 02 6270 9200. They are just a bit concerned too many will turn up!!]

United Nations Information Centre:
Invitation: Statement and Press Conference by UN Expert on Indigenous People
Professor James Anaya - UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people
When: 2:15 pm – 3:15 Thursday 27 August
Where: National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Canberra
RSVP: Ms Francesca Wollaston, United Nations Information Centre Canberra (02) 6270 9200

- Radio

CAAMA News Radio: CAAMA Radio Exclusive!
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
26 Aug 09: "The United Nations special rapporteur on Indigenous rights says he has heard both good and bad reports about the treatment of Aboriginal people in central Australia. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples speaks exclusively to Central Australian Aboriginal Media… Steve Gumerungi Hodder spoke with Professor James Anaya, Apache/Putachupa decendant about similarities in the conditions of Indigenous Peoples, as well as limitations and aims of the United Nations. Professor Anaya visited Central Australia as part of a fact finding mission focused on Human Rights concerns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia."

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
24 Aug 09: "Barbara Shaw - Tiga Bayles spoke with Barbara Shaw, Northern Territory Intervention Rollback Action Group. They spoke about the Northern Territory Intervention."
[includes discussion of James Anaya's visit to Central Australia]
Listen to this interview on-line:

CAAMA News Radio
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
24 Aug 09: "Fed.Indigenous Affairs Minister drops out of N.T visit with U.N delegate due to “personal reasons”."

- News

UPI.com: Australia to reinstate its anti-racist act
24 Aug 09: "Australian government has reiterated its intention to bring back the Racial Discrimination Act within the Northern Territory after it was suspended two years ago. The comments come as a U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous human rights is touring some of the country's most disadvantaged aboriginal communities investigating people's claims of racial discrimination by the territorial and federal governments."

Voice [UK]: AUSTRALIA: Aboriginal allegations against government investigated
23 Aug 09: "THE UNITED Nations’ special rapporteur on indigenous human rights is looking into claims from Aborigines that the country’s government has breached their human rights by suspending anti-discrimination laws to investigate them for child abuse. James Anaya, a US professor of human rights law, reportedly arrived in the country on August 16."

National Indigenous Times:
RDA bypass discriminatory: UN Indigenous expert
20 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 rights says."


- Media Release

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP with Warren Snowdon MP:
Alice Springs town camps
24 Aug 09: "The Government will extend the period for consultations and submissions on the possible acquisition of the Alice Springs town camps until 27 October 2009. In the meantime, we will embark on an enhanced information campaign aimed at providing all town camp residents with further information on the effects of a possible compulsory acquisition of the camps."

- Radio

CAAMA Radio morning news
(Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association):
25 Aug 09: "Macklin’s methods under fire."
[includes comments by Barbara Shaw]

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let's Talk - Indigenous presented talkback:
24 Aug 09: "Barbara Shaw - Tiga Bayles spoke with Barbara Shaw, Northern Territory Intervention Rollback Action Group. They spoke about the Northern Territory Intervention."
[includes discussion of Alice Springs Aboriginal Town Camps takeover and the Federal Court injunction]
Listen to this interview on-line:

- News

National Indigenous Times:
Alice Springs town camp residents to receive notice of takeover: Macklin
25 Aug 09: "The Rudd government will deliver notices about a possible compulsory takeover of Aboriginal town camps to every tin shed and outdoor mattress in Alice Springs, says Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin. The move comes after a court found Labor's previous consultation efforts were inadequate."

ABC Alice Springs: Forced acquisition of camps back on cards
25 Aug 09: "Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, is once again considering the compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal town camps in Alice Springs."

Koori Mail: More talks on town camps: Macklin
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
25 Aug 09: "THE FEDERAL Government will deliver notices about a possible compulsory takeover of Aboriginal town camps to every tin shed and outdoor mattress in Alice Springs, according to Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin. The announcement comes on the eve of a Federal Court hearing on 31 August and 1 September which will examine Labor's previous consultation efforts."

Age: More talks on camps takeover
25 Aug 09: "A COURT order has forced the Federal Government to embark on an ''information campaign'', telling residents of dilapidated town camps around Alice Springs of an intended takeover. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said she was disappointed by the Federal Court injunction, which delayed the handover of control of the camps. Yesterday she extended the period for public feedback to October 27."


- Petition of support

Queensland Council of Unions: Stolen Wages Campaign
"Send a message to Premier Bligh telling her it's time for her government to honour the promises made on stolen wages. ... IT'S TIME TO SETTLE! The Bligh Government's failure to honour its promise to pay $55.4 million in reparations to the stolen wages claimants is incomprehensible."

- Media Release

Queensland Council of Unions:
Unions ramp up Stolen Wages campaign: it's time to settle
19 Aug 09: "Unions will step-up their campaign for full recovery of the $55.4 million Stolen Wages reparations, originally promised in 2002 by former Premier, Peter Beattie. Litigation will commence in the District Court today with proceedings to commence on behalf of claimant, Uncle Conrad Yeatman from Yarrabah."


- Coming up on Television

ABC1: National Press Club Address - Tom Calma: Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
12:30pm Thursday, 27 Aug 2009

Koori Mail: Calma to reveal rep body model
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
25 Aug 09: "THE outcomes of year-long community consultations on a proposed new national representative body for Indigenous Australians will be revealed on Thursday when Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma hands the Federal Government a report, including details of the preferred model for such a body."

- Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
Editorial: Before you condemn...
20 Aug 09: "Before Alison Anderson walked away from the Labor party, the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) was barely getting any press writes NIT’s acting editor AMY McQUIRE*. A few media outlets were beginning to question whether the expensive intervention housing program was actually doing its job. The fact that the $672 million project had not built any homes for Indigenous Territorians was starting to do the rounds."

National Indigenous Times:
BLACK&WHITE: A future on country
20 Aug 09: "At Gulkula in east Arnhemland, GRAHAM RING catches up with Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) Director, Professor Jon Altman, for a yarn about the future of homelands."

- News

National Indigenous Times:
Minister slammed over lack of consultation on dump site
24 Aug 09: "Environmentalists are outraged federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson will not consult before deciding on the location of a nuclear waste dump site and have accused him of seeking a "short-term political fix" to the issue. A letter from about 60 traditional owners of Aboriginal land at Muckaty Station, 120km north of Tennant Creek, was tabled in federal parliament earlier this week. The land was controversially nominated as a possible site for a waste dump by the Northern Land Council last year. But the letter, which calls for a meeting with Mr Ferguson, details widespread opposition to a waste facility."

Brisbane Times: Macklin 'should quit over report delay'
25 Aug 09: "Jenny Macklin should be sacked from the federal indigenous affairs portfolio, says a Northern Territory senator [Liberal Senator Nigel Scullion] who is calling for the immediate release of a report into a bungled housing scheme."

ABC Indigenous: DOCS accused of overzealous child removal
26 Aug 09: "The New South Wales Ombudsman will consider whether the Department of Community Services (DOCS) followed correct procedure in removing dozens of children from their families in Lightning Ridge in the state's west. ... [Ombudsman] Mr Barbour says he will examine whether DOCS is making a sufficient effort to join in partnership with Indigenous communities."

Koori Mail: Aboriginal bust auction sparks protest
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
24 Aug 09: "A DELEGATION of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, including Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Secretary Nala Mansell-McKenna, is in Melbourne for a protest tonight at Sotheby's. The world-renown auctioneers are offering two busts of Aboriginal people – Truganini and Woureddy – which the delegation says depicts the myth of extermination. Full story in our 9 September edition."

National Indigenous Times:
Sothebys defends Aboriginal stance and withdraws Tasmanian works
26 Aug 09: "Sothebys auction house has defended its respect for Aboriginal Australians after withdrawing two controversial busts from sale. Sothebys initially ignored calls from Aboriginal activists to pull the 1836 busts of Tasmanian Aboriginal leaders Woureddy and his wife Truganini. The activists, led by lawyer Michael Mansell, say the busts perpetuate the racist myth that Truganini was the last "full-blood" Tasmanian Aboriginal person."

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)