WGAR News: UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, criticises the NT Intervention

WGAR News: UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, criticises the NT Intervention

Newsletter date: 26 May 2011

* UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, criticises the NT Intervention
* Video "Intervention fight" - topics: Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra visits Europe; "Our Generation" film in UK; Aboriginal leaders meet with Navi Pillay.
* Other Northern Territory (NT) Intervention articles
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention
* Other Aboriginal articles


- Media Release

Scoop: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay
25 May 11: "I welcome the advances the Government has made in addressing some of the disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In particular, I welcome the National Apology and Australia’s formal recognition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, along with the significant investment being made to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education. However, I believe these efforts are being undermined by policies that fail to recognise the right to self-determination for indigenous people, which is a key element of the UN Declaration.
In my discussions with Aboriginal people, I could sense the deep hurt and pain that they have suffered because of government policies that are imposed on them. I also saw Aboriginal people making great efforts to improve their communities, but noted that their efforts are often stifled by inappropriate and inflexible policies that fail to empower the most effective, local solutions.
I would urge a fundamental rethink of the measures being taken under the Northern Territory Emergency Response. There should be a major effort to ensure not just consultation with the communities concerned in any future measures, but also their consent and active participation. Such a course of action would be in line with the UN Declaration."

- Audio

ABC PM: UN commissioner still critical of Malaysia deal
25 May 11: "ALEXANDRA KIRK: And she's spoken about the concerns of Indigenous Australians critical of the Government's Northern intervention policy. Navi Pillay's impressed with the intentions of Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and the amount of money the Government's allocated to Indigenous programs, but: NAVI PILLAY: I'm concerned that some measures appear to remain discriminatory in practice. The legislation underpinning the intervention will expire next year and I think this is then an important opportunity for the government not just to consult with the Aboriginal community but to gain their consent and their participation in any future measures."

- News

Australian: Intervention needs rethink: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
26 May 11: "THE UN's top human rights official has called on the Gillard government to fundamentally rethink the indigenous intervention, saying it had caused deep hurt and pain to Aborigines. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says she met a number of indigenous communities during her time in Australia and they claimed government staff had an "imperialist attitude" and that the intervention was discriminatory. ... Ms Pillay said the indigenous people she met had told her income management and housing programs were not working well."

Herald Sun: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner accuses Australia of racism
26 May 11: "A fundamental rethink of measures taken under the Northern Territory Emergency Response was also needed, Ms Pillay said, due to “inappropriate and inflexible policies” forced upon Aboriginals."

ABC Radio Australia News: Australia defends mandatory detention policy for refugees
26 May 11: "'Deep hurt'. Ms Pillay says the United Nations has welcomed the apology to the Stolen Generations delivered by then-prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2008 and investment in Aboriginal education. But she says when she spoke to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, she could "sense the deep hurt and pain that they have suffered because of government policies that are imposed on them".

UN News Centre: Australia: UN urges rethink of policies on indigenous peoples and asylum-seekers
25 May 11: "Ms. Pillay noted that the treatment of Australia’s indigenous peoples and asylum-seekers are the two main human rights issues which are a constant source of friction in the country and of attention abroad. ... She also urged a “fundamental rethink” of the measures being taken under the Northern Territory Emergency Response – a set of laws and related Government initiatives implemented in 2007 that were aimed at addressing conditions faced by indigenous peoples in that region of the country but which also drew heavy criticism for being discriminatory."

BBC: Australia: UN chief Navi Pillay attacks asylum policy
25 May 11: "The UN human rights commissioner has launched a scathing attack on Australia's policy towards "boat people" and its indigenous population. ... On the question of aboriginal rights she was just as scathing. She criticised what she called inappropriate and inflexible policies that had caused deep hurt and pain."

ABC: Call for 'fundamental rethink' on intervention
25 May 11: "The United Nations is urging the Federal Government to have a "fundamental rethink" on the Northern Territory intervention."

ABC: UN rights chief attacks 'disturbing' policies
25 May 11: "... she [UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay] said when she spoke to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, she could "sense the deep hurt and pain that they have suffered because of government policies that are imposed on them". She said "inappropriate and inflexible" policies were stifling efforts by Indigenous people to improve their communities with effective local solutions and urged a rethink of the intervention. "There should be a major effort to ensure not just consultation with the communities concerned in any future measures, but also their consent and active participation," she said."

Reuters: U.N. rights chief raps Australia on refugees, racism
25 May 11: "The United Nations' top human rights watchdog on Wednesday attacked Australia's tough refugee policies and the treatment of outback Aborigines, saying there was a strong undercurrent of racism in the country. ... She also criticised an "intervention" policy introduced by the former conservative government and continued by Gillard which places controls on welfare spending for Aborigines to help fight alcohol and child sex abuse in remote outback areas."

Catholic Leader: UN NT probe
29 May 11: "A TOP United Nations official's Australian visit to investigate the Federal Government's Northern Territory Intervention has been welcomed by the head of a ministry to Aboriginal Catholics. Sydney archdiocese's Aboriginal Catholic Ministry executive officer Graeme Mundine said the visit by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was "a good thing" and he hoped representatives of other similar groups such as Amnesty International would do the same."

News Rickey: UN criticizes Australia’s policies on indigenous peoples and refugees
25 May 11: "A top United Nations official on Wednesday urged Australia to rethink its policies towards indigenous peoples and asylum-seekers. "The issues of indigenous disadvantage and the treatment of asylum-seekers need to be tackled through a human rights-based approach, not driven by short-term electoral advantage and political goals," High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told a press conference in Canberra at the end of her six-day visit."

- Related Video

ABC 7.30 NT: Intervention fight
Hosted by Laetitia Lemke
20 May 11: "A senior elder from Elcho Island has taken his fight against the NT Intervention to the UK and Europe."
[Includes footage of Navi Pillay meeting with Aboriginal leaders in Darwin]

- Related Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 23-05-2011
23 May 11: "The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay met with a delegation of Aboriginal elders in Darwin late last week and heard their calls for an end to the Northern Territory Intervention and for the restoration of their rights."

- Related News

Australian Human Rights Commission: Australian hearts need to be humane
24 May 11: ""I am coming here to appeal to Australian hearts to be humane to the treatment of asylum seekers," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told a 1500-strong crowd that packed Sydney Town Hall last night. ... Commission President Catherine Branson QC said there was a pressing need in Australia for an informed debate on issues that touch on respect for individuals and groups in our community. "The Northern Territory Emergency Response Act - and its future - is one such issue and immigration and refugee policy is another," Ms Branson said. ... Professor Dodson delivered a blunt assessment on the Northern Territory Intervention as a failure and warned that policies and programs would continue to fail as long as they were developed by Canberra and imposed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

Age: Intervention facing UN criticism
23 May 11: "Northern Territory Aboriginal leaders have told UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that things have got worse under the intervention imposed by the Howard government in 2007. ''There is greater discrimination against them,'' Ms Pillay said they told her. ''Firstly, they said there's been an intervention and it started off badly without them being consulted, and secondly, there is insufficient respect for their land,'' she said. Ms Pillay said the Aborigines told her they were under pressure from the Gillard government to sign 99-year leases over their land." Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin

National Indigenous Radio Service: UN investigates Federal Intervention
23 May 11: "The Federal Intervention will come under international scrutiny this week, with a top United Nations official set to criticise a lack of rights for Aboriginal people. ... The UN High Commissioner told journalists she would reveal her views about the intervention at a news conference in Canberra on Wednesday, at the end of a six-day Australian visit."

National Indigenous Radio Service: Elders call on UN support for human rights
23 May 11: "On Friday Aboriginal Elders in Darwin presented the UN Human Rights Commissioner a letter signed by almost six and a half thousand Australians from across the country, calling for her support in restoring the rights of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. ... Aboriginal people travelled long distances from across the Northern Territory to take the opportunity to ask for the Commissioner's support in calling for the restoration of their rights."

SMH: It was right to step in, Howard insists
21 May 11: "JOHN HOWARD says he would have done nothing different on the intervention, which was ''absolutely necessary''. The ''lack of responsibility and the failures of the Northern Territory government were appalling'', the former prime minister said. ... Mr Wild [Rex Wild] said this week the imposition of policies from Canberra did not work. ... The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, visiting Australia yesterday said indigenous elders told her that ''things had got worse'' since the intervention."


WGAR News: UN Human Rights High Commissioner hears from NT Aboriginal leaders (21 May 11)


- Video

ABC 7.30 NT: Intervention fight
Hosted by Laetitia Lemke
20 May 11: "A senior elder from Elcho Island has taken his fight against the NT Intervention to the UK and Europe."


WGAR News: Aboriginal elder raises international awareness of the NT Intervention (14 May 11)

WGAR News: Global call to action for Aboriginal rights in Australia (17 May 11)


- Media Release

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA):
'Sorry' - Still Living On Borrowed Time
24 May 11: "As National Sorry Day approaches, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) considers there is still more work to be done to achieve meaningful justice for the Stolen Generations. ...
Ms. Fox [NAAJA’s Chairperson] said that 'the Intervention is an example of policy which was made without talking to Aboriginal people. It is policy which again disempowers Aboriginal people and leaves Aboriginal people feeling like they are second class citizens.'
'If the Government was really concerned about the situation in Aboriginal communities, they would have done what the Little Children Are Sacred report recommended, and consulted with Aboriginal people.'
'So even though the Rudd Labor Government said 'Sorry', the Intervention shows that they haven’t followed through with making sure their actions reflect this important gesture.'"

- Review & Photo Gallery

SMH: Disputed territory
21 May 11: "In the first of a series, Lindsay Murdoch reviews the successes - and failures - of the federal intervention, four years on. ... "

- News

SMH: Abbott and Gillard should tour NT: Wyatt
25 May 11: "Liberal backbencher Ken Wyatt has called on his boss Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Julia Gillard to visit the Northern Territory together and develop a long-term bipartisan plan to tackle indigenous disadvantage. Mr Wyatt, the first Aborigine elected to the lower house of federal parliament, ... "If you want to change something, work with people. I would've preferred to have seen government agencies sit down with the affected communities and work through solutions." [Mr. Wyatt said]"

SMH: Next time talk to the people, commissioner says
24 May 11: "THE Northern Territory intervention has perpetuated a culture of ''learnt helplessness'' among indigenous people, says the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Social Justice commissioner, Mick Gooda. After a tour of the Alice Springs region, home to 39,000 indigenous people, Mr Gooda said he supported the emergency intervention but its implementation had left people believing they were being bypassed and ignored."

Koori Mail: Minister: Licensed stores are helping
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
24 May 11: "THE Federal Government says store licensing in the Northern Territory is giving people in remote communities better access to healthy, affordable food. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says an independent report has found that a majority of stores licensed under the NT Intervention were selling more varied fresh fruit and vegetables, store management had improved, and there'd been a high level of compliance with the income management requirements for stores."

Australian: ALP vows tougher NT grog curbs
24 May 11: "THE Gillard government yesterday pledged to strengthen alcohol restrictions in Northern Territory indigenous communities. After reports the government was considering winding back the drink bans, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said yesterday that on the contrary, she was committed to tougher restrictions on alcohol."

Age: Macklin could end NT grog ban
23 May 11: "INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin is under pressure to wind back alcohol bans as part of radical reforms she is considering to curb the devastating impact of ''rivers of grog'' in remote indigenous communities and towns in the Northern Territory. The reforms include allowing strictly controlled ''wet canteens'' in remote communities, lifting the floor price for alcohol in Alice Springs and making some town camps ''gated'' to keep out drunks and unwelcome visitors."

Australian: Income management a surprise for trial town
21 May 11: ""TOUGH love" initiatives in the federal budget to extend income management across Australia have come as a surprise to Shepparton in northern Victoria, one of the five trial towns. Mayor Geoff Dobson and the heads of welfare agencies in the town said the first they heard of the Northern Territory-like initiative was when it was announced in the budget and several agency heads were concerned how it would be implemented."


Creative Spirits: Northern Territory Emergence Response (NTER) - "The Intervention":

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Northern Territory National Emergency Response: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Territory_intervention

CAAMA (Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association) - NT Intervention: http://caama.com.au/?s=NT+Intervention

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group): Mparntwe - Alice Springs: http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/

Treaty Republic - NT Intervention: http://treatyrepublic.net/search/node/NT%20Intervention

ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation) - NT intervention: http://www.antar.org.au/issues_and_campaigns/nt_intervention

The Greens: Rachel Siewert: Northern Territory Intervention: http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/category/issues/indigenous-rights...

STICS (Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney): http://stoptheintervention.org/

Crikey - NT Intervention: http://www.crikey.com.au/topic/nt-intervention/

Jobs with Justice: http://jobswithjustice.wordpress.com/

MAIC (Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective): http://maicollective.blogspot.com/

'concerned Australians': Without Justice there can be no Reconciliation: http://www.concernedaustralians.com.au/

New Matilda - northern territory intervention: http://newmatilda.com/tag/northern-territory-intervention

Amnesty International Australia: Looking back at the Northern Territory Intervention: http://www.amnesty.org.au/indigenous-rights/comments/24460/

Defending Indigenous Rights: http://defendingindigenousrights.wordpress.com/

Intervention walk-off's Blog: http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com/

Australian Human Rights Commission: Northern Territory ‘Emergency Response’ intervention: http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/intervention/index.html

FAIRA; Human Rights Law Resource Centre; NACLC: Australia’s compliance with CERD - Fact Sheet 2: Northern Territory Intervention: http://www.hrlrc.org.au/files/Fact-Sheet-2-NT-Intervention.pdf

Green Left: Northern Territory intervention: myths and facts: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/39732

WGAR (Working Group for Aboriginal Rights): http://wgar.info/


- Audio

ABC AM: Calls for a national rethink on juvenile justice
25 May 11: "The head of the St Vincent de Paul Society in New South Wales says it must be recognised that juvenile justice in Australia is an Aboriginal problem and it must be dealt with accordingly. He was one of the participants in a forum in Sydney last night which heard that each young Australian offender costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to keep in detention and that it's far cheaper to deal with them in the community. A national report on young people in detention soon to be released calls on the Federal Government to adopt a radical preventative approach."

- News

Australian: Survey raises the option of Aboriginal MP quota
21 May 11: "INDIGENOUS Australians have been asked whether they want a guaranteed number of seats in federal parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, as part of changes to the Constitution to be voted on at a referendum in 2013. The new National Congress of Australia's First Peoples yesterday sent a survey out to indigenous people and organisations, effectively asking them to vote for which options they prefer to be part of the constitutional change."

- Analysis / Opinion

Australian: Speaking one's mother tongue is vital
21 May 11: "Education in Australian languages is not new; but teaching in Australian languages should not be done primarily because some children know too little English when they start school. It should also be done where children know more English, or predominantly or only English: this is the principle of the culture domain in Cape York, where languages are dying. Teaching children in Australian languages is only one instance of speaking to children in Australian languages so that they learn them as their mother tongues. If children do not learn Australian languages as mother tongues, Australian cultures cannot live." Noel Pearson

- New Website

You Me Unity: About Updating the Australian Constitution
"The Constitution is the basis for our laws and political system and represents the values that define us as a nation. A lot has changed since the Constitution was written in 1901. Nowadays many Australians would be surprised to know that the Constitution still includes the possibility for discrimination based on your race, and ignores Australia’s first peoples and their role as custodians of the world’s oldest continuing culture. The Australian people have the power to update the Constitution through a referendum so that it better reflects our shared values. In light of this The Panel has been appointed by the Government to consult with the people and lead a nationwide discussion on the issue."


WGAR News: Proposal to recognise Aboriginal people in the Constitution; Jenny Macklin has ruled out a treaty (16 Nov 10)

WGAR News: [Quasi] Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians (21 May 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/05/21/wgar-news-un-human-rights-high-commis...

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