WGAR News: UN Expert calls NT Intervention "discriminatory" (29 Aug 09)

WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)

WGAR website: http://wgar.info/

Statement by UN Rapporteur, James Anaya
Alyawarra people seek UN refugee status
Proposed national Indigenous body
Other Aboriginal articles


- Statement at Press Conference

[Ed. note: I have chosen the quote below as I think it will be of interest to readers. However, may I encourage you to click on the link below and read all of James Anaya's statement for a more complete understanding of his views.]

Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, James Anaya, as he concludes his visit to Australia
"Canberra/Geneva, 27 August 2009: ... Aspects of the Government’s initiatives to remedy situations of indigenous disadvantage, however, raise concerns. Of particular concern is the Northern Territory Emergency Response, which by the Government’s own account is an extraordinary measure, especially in its income management regime, imposition of compulsory leases, and community-wide bans on alcohol consumption and pornography. These measures overtly discriminate against aboriginal peoples, infringe their right of self-determination and stigmatize already stigmatized communities. ... I urge the Government to act swiftly to reinstate the protections of the Racial Discrimination Act in regard to the indigenous peoples of the Northern Territory. ... government initiatives to address the housing needs of indigenous peoples, should avoid imposing leasing or other arrangements that would undermine indigenous peoples’ control over their lands. ... "

- Radio

ABC Radio Australia: UN urges Australia to pay reparations to indigenous communities
28 Aug 09: " ... The UN's special rapporteur on indigenous rights and freedoms is American law expert Professor James Anaya, and he's given his initial findings, after a 12-day tour of urban and remote Australia. He also says Canberra should pay reparations to the country's indigenous people, something the Labor government has previously ruled out. ... "

ABC PM: UN official slams NT intervention
27 Aug 09: "A senior United Nations official has slammed the Northern Territory intervention. Professor James Anaya is the UN's Special Rapporteur on the rights and freedoms of Indigenous peoples. After 11 days touring Aboriginal communities, he says Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are experiencing entrenched racism. Professor Anaya says the intervention breaches a number of international treaties."
[includes comments by James Anaya]

- Opinion

National Indigenous Times:
Facing up to our racism: A UN perspective on the Northern Territory intervention
28 Aug 09: "Prof Anaya brings within him a big reputation. Or, in the words of Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin, who greeted Anaya at a function when he arrived a fortnight ago: "Professor Anaya is recognised as one of the world's leading human rights advocates and legal scholars," Macklin enthused. "His advocacy and legal work on behalf of Indigenous communities command worldwide attention. This is an extraordinary opportunity for an honest and open exchange of views and experiences." " Chris Graham

- News

National Indigenous Times:
UN Indigenous rights experts slams intervention as "overtly discriminatory"
28 Aug 09: "A UN expert on Indigenous rights says the ongoing intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is overtly discriminatory and Australia must tackle its "entrenched" racism. ... He [Professor Anaya] says NT intervention measures, including compulsory income management and blanket bans on alcohol and pornography, are "overtly discriminatory" and further stigmatise already stigmatised communities. They're incompatible with various international conventions, covenants, treaties and declarations, he said. ... Prof Anaya was also scathing of Labor's insistence that housing funds would only flow if Indigenous communities leased their land to the government for 40 years."

SMH: End culture of racism, says UN inspector
28 Aug 09: "COMPULSORY land takeovers, welfare quarantining and forced alcohol and pornography bans must cease if Australia's ''broad-sweep'' intervention is to comply with international law, the United Nations says. The UN special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, James Anaya, yesterday gave a damning assessment of entrenched racism that persisted in Australia, specifying measures in the Northern Territory intervention."

Canberra Times: UN flays 'discriminatory' NT intervention
28 Aug 09: "The UN's special rapporteur on Indigenous Rights, James Anaya, has savaged the Northern Territory intervention as ''clearly discriminatory'' and ''demeaning'' to indigenous people. ... He said the Northern Territory intervention breached two United Nations rights charters to which Australia was a signatory, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People."

ABC: Intervention protects vulnerable: Macklin
28 Aug 09: "Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has defended the Northern Territory intervention as necessary to protect the rights of vulnerable people, following United Nations criticism it is racist."

ABC: NT Govt brushes off UN's intervention blast
28 Aug 09: "The Northern Territory's Acting Chief Minister, Delia Lawrie, has rejected criticism of the intervention by the United Nations special rapporteur. ... Meanwhile, Indigenous activist Barbara Shaw says the Federal Government must stop the practice of income management in Territory Indigenous communities."

National Indigenous Times:
Abbott dubs Anaya an "armchair critic"
28 Aug 09: "A United Nations expert who described intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as discriminatory is an "armchair critic", opposition Indigenous affairs spokesman Tony Abbott says."

ABC: Brough dismisses UN intervention criticism
28 Aug 09: "Mal Brough, the minister who oversaw the Northern Territory intervention, has angrily dismissed claims by a United Nations human rights expert that the measures are overtly racist."

Australian: Brough slams UN indigenous expert
28 Aug 09: "THE Howard Government minister who designed the Northern Territory intervention policy in remote indigenous communities has slammed a UN expert for suggesting the program is overtly discriminatory."

Australian: Howard ministers accuse UN observer Anaya of putting rights before living standards
28 Aug 09: "TWO former Howard government ministers have accused a United Nations observer of putting rights before living standards by alleging that the intervention into remote Northern Territory communities is discriminatory."

BBC: UN condemns Aboriginal treatment
27 Aug 09: "A senior United Nations human rights official has criticised Australia's measures to fight child abuse and alcoholism in Aboriginal communities. Prof James Anaya said the measures were discriminatory and stigmatised indigenous people. He spoke after a tour of Aboriginal townships prompted by complaints that the government intervention was racist."
[The same news item appeared in this Nigeria blog: http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/blog/?p=22356 ]

New York Times: U.N. Condemns ’07 Policy in Aboriginal Communities
27 Aug 09: "A senior United Nations official on Thursday condemned Australia’s intervention in remote Aboriginal communities in 2007, describing the measures as discriminatory."

Bloomberg: UN Says Indigenous Rights Undermined in Australia
27 Aug 09: "James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, called on the government to scrap the so-called intervention policy in the Northern Territory, under which welfare payments to Aborigines are held by officials to ensure money is spent on food instead of alcohol. “There is entrenched racism in Australia,” Anaya told reporters in the capital, Canberra, after visiting several Aboriginal townships in the past week."

Reuters [US]: UN critical of Australian Aboriginal intervention
27 Aug 09: "A senior United Nations official condemned on Thursday Australia's controversial intervention into remote Aboriginal communities, describing the measures as discriminatory and finding entrenched racism in Australia."

VOANews.com [US]: UN Representative Criticizes Australia's Aboriginal Policies as Racist
27 Aug 09: "A U.N. representative says Australia's intervention in dozens of troubled Aboriginal communities is discriminatory and breaches the country's international human-rights obligations. The U.N. special investigator on indigenous people, James Anaya, says that Aborigines in Australia face entrenched racism."

ABC: Indigenous intervention discriminatory: UN
27 Aug 09: "The United Nations says Australia is breaching its international human rights obligations by continuing the Northern Territory intervention. The UN's special rapporteur on human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous people, Professor James Anaya, says the intervention is also discriminatory and has urged the Government to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act."

Breaking News 24/7: UN says racism entrenched in Australia
27 Aug 09: "James Anaya didn’t pull any punches after his two-week visit of the country, saying the Rudd Government should reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory “right away” because the intervention into remote Aboriginal communities is clearly discriminatory."

Breaking News 24/7: UN expert says Australia breached Aborigines’ rights with measures mean to curb child abuse
27 Aug 09: "Australia breached international obligations on human and indigenous rights by imposing radical restrictions on Aborigines during a crackdown on child abuse in Outback communities, a United Nations expert said Thursday."

- Video

SBS World News: Intervention Attacked
28 Aug 09

ABC Lateline: UN labels Indigenous intervention racist
27 Aug 09: "The United Nations has called the Commonwealth's intervention into Northern Territory Indigenous communities racist, and says it breaches a number of international treaties. At the same time, Australia's Social Justice Commissioner has unveiled his proposal for a new Indigenous advisory body, a model that attracted criticism of its own."

- 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)

WGAR News:
Visit by UN Expert, James Anaya (26 Aug 09)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2009/08/26/wgar-news-intervention-walk-off-commu...


- Background

Intervention walkoff's Blog

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

- News

Asia One: Australian Aborigines seek 'refugee' status
26 Aug 09: "A group of Aborigines from Australia's desert Outback have asked the United Nations to declare them refugees in their own country, saying a military-led crackdown has left them powerless."

News Times [India]: Australian aborigines demand UN refugee status
26 Aug 09: "A group of Australian aborigines has requested the United Nations to grant them refugee status. ... Richard Downs, a spokesman of the 4000-member Alyawarra community in central Australia, said the request for refugee status had been forwarded to James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, when he was visiting Australia on a fact-finding mission."

AOL News Canada: Australia's Aborigines request refugee status
26 Aug 09: "A group of 4,000 Australian Aborigines asked the United Nations to grant them refugee status Wednesday, saying that government-imposed measures to curb alcohol and sexual abuse in their communities have made them outcasts in their own country, according to Reuters."

9 News: NT Aborigines seek UN refugee status
26 Aug 09: "Aborigines from central Australia are seeking refugee status from the United Nations, claiming they have been forced off their land and made to feel "helpless, hopeless and worthless". They say the federal intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory has deprived them of basic human rights and violated their ties to country."

ABC: Aboriginal refugee claim 'unlikely to succeed'
27 Aug 09: "An expert in refugee and human rights law says a group of Aboriginal people who have asked the United Nations to register them as refugees within Australia are unlikely to be successful."

Reuters [US]: Australia Aborigines ask U.N. for refugee status
25 Aug 09: "A group of Australian Aborigines asked the United Nations 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."


- Video

ABC 7.30 Report: Tom Calma joins The 7.30 Report
27 Aug 09: "Australia may soon have a new peak Aboriginal advisory body, a Congress of 128 members drawn from communities and organisations around the nation to replace ATSIC, which was discredited and axed by the Howard government. Unlike ATSIC, the new congress with its own ethics council would have no power to implement policy or provide direct services to Aboriginal communities. The body has been proposed by a review process headed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, and was unveiled ironically on the same day as a special UN rapporteur visited Australia has trenchantly criticise the Northern Territory intervention."

SBS World News: Intervention Attacked
28 Aug 09
[Play video. Midway through there are comments by Tom Calma and Michael Andersonon the proposed Indigenous body.]

- News

ABC Darwin: Anderson sceptical about post-ATSIC body
28 Aug 09: "The former Northern Territory Indigenous policy minister, Alison Anderson, says a plan for a new body to represent Aboriginal people will have board members who do not really understand the problems of people in remote communities."

ABC: Calma urges support for ATSIC replacement
27 Aug 09: "A new organisation to represent Indigenous people should be an independent private body headed by elected representatives, the Federal Government has been told."

ABC: Fears of ATSIC ghost in new Indigenous body
27 Aug 09: "Members of the Indigenous community have given mixed reviews to a proposed national Indigenous body, with many hoping the new council will usher in an era of self-determination. But despite the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Commissioner Tom Calma's promise that the new body will be "radically different" from anything seen in the past, the ghost of ATSIC still lurks."

Australian: Cracks already in new indigenous council
27 Aug 09: "MANY of the nation's most recognised Aboriginal leaders have had no input into the creation of a national indigenous body, raising concerns that the new council will fail to bridge the divide between urban and remote indigenous communities."

- Opinion

Coober Pedy Regional Times:
UN Visit - Tom Calma criticised by NSW Aboriginal leader
27 Aug 09: "A NSW Aboriginal leader suggests that an address by Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, today is timed to draw attention away from one just after it by James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, to report on his recent findings in Aboriginal communities."

Australian: Indigenous body is not the main game
28 Aug 09: "Tom Calma's proposed body ignores the real challenges. TOM Calma's blueprint for a new national indigenous body is a victory for structure over substance. The report presented to the federal government yesterday by the Social Justice Commissioner has considerable detail about how the body will be set up. But the missing piece is what exactly this institution would really achieve at this moment in Australian politics."

Australian: Probity check for 'new ATSIC' as minister fails to commit to seed money
28 Aug 09: "But plans for the body to be independent of the government hit an early stumbling block, with Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin declining to commit funding that would allow it to become financially self-sufficient." Nicola Berkovic and Stuart Rintoul

Australian: Body devoid of power and purpose
28 Aug 09: "AMIDST clouds of dewy rhetoric, Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma yesterday proposed, from the podium of the National Press Club, what the Labor federal government will happily accept - a national Aboriginal representative body without power, without obvious purpose, full of modish features and non-traditional aspects." Nicolas Rothwell


- News

ABC: Release Aboriginal housing report now: CLP
27 Aug 09: "The Northern Territory Opposition says the Government must immediately release a report into a major Indigenous housing program. The report into the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program is now overdue. The authors are looking into concerns much of the $672 million allocated is being sucked up by administrative and ancillary costs."

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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)