WGAR News: Interview with UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, on the NT Intervention

Newsletter date: 29 May 2011

* Interview with UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, on the NT Intervention
* Ethnocide - A Crime Equal to Genocide: Submission to Navi Pillay by Michael Anderson
* Other Northern Territory (NT) Intervention articles
* Background to the Northern Territory (NT) Intervention


- Audio Interview

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
Exclusive Interview: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay
26 May 11: "The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has urged the Gillard Labor Government for a fundamental rethink of the measures imposed on Aboriginal people under the Northern Territory Emergency Response. In an exclusive interview with CAAMA radio the UN High Commissioner has acknowledged the Government advances to address disadvantage within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. But she is urging for a better effort. Ms Pillay says following her visit to the Northern Territory she now fully appreciates how Aboriginal people feel, living under the Government policies imposed on them by the Northern Territory Intervention."

- Related Media Releases

Scoop: Australia: Policies On Indigenous Peoples And Asylum-Seekers
26 May 11: "Press Release: United Nations
While stressing Australia’s long-standing commitment to human rights, a top United Nations official today said the country is failing to protect certain groups and urged it 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. ...
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."

Rachel Siewert: Greens back UN criticism of the NT Intervention
26 May 11: "The Australian Greens have strongly endorsed comments made by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay calling on the Federal Government to take a new approach to the NT Intervention.
"This is another damning criticism of the NT Intervention, which again reflects poorly on Australian’s commitment to human rights," Senator Rachel Siewert said today. ...
"Commissioner Pillay has recognised the importance of taking action in partnership with communities and developing programs and strategies through proper consultation.
"The Australian Greens remain absolutely committed to seeing the RDA full restored and seeing the failed NTER come to an end in favour of a new approach which learns from the mistakes of successive Governments," concluded Senator Siewert."

- Related News of Aboriginal women leaders

Katherine Times: Local women take issues to the top
25 May 11: "Navanethem (Navi) Pillay visited Darwin on Friday for the meeting with Aboriginal leaders from across the Territory. Miliwanga Sandy and Margaret Katherine were there to represent the Jawoyn people while May Rosas was there for Wardaman. The Commissioner came to listen to their views about the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). In particular she wanted to know about how the national apology and recognition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People has translated into policy changes and about the impact of the NTER." Tegan Forder

- Related International News

People's Daily: A Sorry Day for Australian race relations
27 May 11: "UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, an anti-apartheid campaigner and international criminal court judge was less optimistic, reserving her harshest criticism for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Pillay expressed deep concern about Australia's indigenous affairs and the Labor government's plan to send asylum seekers to Malaysia for refugee processing as reported by Xinhua this week."

Daily Mail UK: 'Racist' Australia compared to Apartheid South Africa by UN Human Rights commissioner
26 May 11: "The United Nations' top human rights watchdog has attacked Australia's tough refugee policies and the treatment of outback Aborigines, saying there was a strong undercurrent of racism in the country. ... The 69-year-old is a former anti-apartheid campaigner and international criminal court judge, and she was speaking to reporters at the end of a six-day visit. ... She also criticised an 'intervention' policy. It was introduced by the former conservative government and continued by Gillard."

Indian Express: UN official likens 'racist' Australia to 'apartheid' SAfrica
26 May 11: "The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has said there is a strong undercurrent of racism in Australia because of the country’s tough refugee policies and the treatment of Aborigines. ... "I come from South Africa and lived under this, and am every way attuned to seeing racial discrimination," The Daily Mail quoted Pillay, as saying. "There is a racial discriminatory element here which I see as rather inhumane treatment of people, judged by their differences, racial, colour or religions," she added."

Angola Press: Australia and Malaysia reject UN refugees criticism
26 May 11: "Their comments followed scathing criticism of the deal by the UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay. Ahead of Australia's annual apology to its indigenous population, Ms Pillay also attacked Australian "racism"."

JURIST: UN rights chief criticizes Australia indigenous, asylum policies
25 May 11: "UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Wednesday a rebuked [text] Australia for its political, rather than human rights based approach to indigenous people and asylum-seekers. Although she criticized some of the nation's practices, she had considerable praise for "a strong history of commitment to human rights at the international level, and also of course a robust system of democratic institutions." Nonetheless, she believes improvements are necessary in the realm of treatment of Aborigines and immigrants."

UN Radio: Call for Australia to improve treatment of indigenous people and asylum seekers
25 May 11: "Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was speaking after a six-day visit to the country. During that time she met with Aboriginal communities and visited immigration detention centres. She praised the Australian government’s efforts to promote the rights of people with disabilities and older people, but she said government policies were failing to recognise indigenous people’s right to self-determination."

- Related Videos

Australian Human Rights Commission: Human Rights 2011
"Date Monday, 23 May 2011 ... Location Sydney Town Hall ... Video Highlights"
[Includes video of Navi Pillay and Aboriginal Elder Prof Patrick Dodson speaking about the NT Intervention.]

Press TV: UN criticizes Australia over refugee policies
27 May 11: "Pillay said the two areas of concern are the discrimination against Indigenous communities, and the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Pillay also visited the Northern Territory, or NT, on the first day of her visit. Aboriginal leaders told her that things are getting worse since the government allowed intervention in the indigenous communities, including how they spend their money and where they spend it."
[Includes video of Navi Pillay and Paddy Gibson.]

- Related Photos

AusHumanRights: Human Rights 2011
"Peak Human Rights event at Sydney Town Hall on 23 May 2011, featuring a panel discussion with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, Aboriginal Elder Professor Patrick Dodson and Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Paris Aristotle AM. The event concluded with a performance by Bangarra Dance Theatre."

- Related Audio

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association:
CAAMA Radio News 26-05-2011
26 May 11: "The United Nations Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay has urged the Gillard Labor Government for a fundamental rethink of the measures imposed on Aboriginal people under the Northern Territory Emergency Response."

- Related Local News

Koori Mail: UN criticisms on the money, says Siewert
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
26 May 11: "THE Australian Greens have strongly backed UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay's criticisms of the NT Intervention. Greens Indigenous affairs spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says Ms Pillay's damning of the controversial Intervention - not the first from the UN - reflects poorly on Australian's commitment to human rights, and a new approach is needed. Senator Rachel Siewert says the NT Intervention continues to discriminate, as does 'lingering partial suspension' of the Racial Discrimination Act."

National Indigenous Radio Service: UN urge Intervention rethink
26 May 11: "The United Nations is urging the federal government to have a fundamental rethink on the Northern Territory Intervention."

CathNews: Praise for UN official's visit to NT intervention
25 May 11: "A visit by a top UN official to investigate the Federal Government's Northern Territory Intervention was a "good thing", and others such as Amnesty International should follow suit, an official from the Archdiocese of Sydney's Aboriginal Catholic Ministry has told the Catholic Leader. ... Upon her arrival in Darwin, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was handed a petition signed by 6500 Australians calling for her support in restoring the rights of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory."

Courier Mail: UN official attacks NT intervention
25 May 11: ""I would urge a fundamental rethink of the measures being taken under the Northern Territory Emergency Response," she said. "The way the intervention was initially imposed has clearly caused enormous anger, pain and humiliation amongst the communities affected." Mr Pillay took particular aim at housing and income management policies and urged better consultation with indigenous communities."

Koori Mail: UN flays Govt on Indigenous rights
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
25 May 11: "PROGRESS on Indigenous rights and increased funding for Indigenous programs is being undermined by the Australian Government's failure to recognise Indigenous people's rights to self-determination, according to an international human rights expert. In Canberra today, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged a 'fundamental rethink' on the Northern Territory Intervention, which she said had caused deep hurt amongst Aboriginal people."


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

WGAR News: UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, criticises the NT Intervention (26 May 11)

Navi Pillay's final media conference statement in Canberra (25 May 11):


- Submission

Ethnocide: A Crime Equal to Genocide
24 May 11: "Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ...
Submission by Michael Anderson, Leader of the Euahlayi Nation, Co-founder of the 1972 Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra and Convenor of the New Way Summit ...
Ethnocide ...
Ethnocide is a notion that even the UN refuses to acknowledge. But in order to do justice for Aboriginal People, the main thing the UN can do for us is to make Ethnocide a crime equal to Genocide and ratified by every Nation throughout the world to prevent Australia from refusing to become a party to that convention. There can be no excuse for Ethnocide, just as there is no excuse in law for murder and Genocide. ...
No effective law against Genocide
Finally, we wish to draw your attention to the fact that Australia has still not fully imported the Genocide Convention into domestic law. Parts of the Genocide Convention were imported into domestic law by way of the International Criminal Court Consequential Amendments Act 2002, but only the Attorney-General can begin a genocide case and if he/she refuses there is no right of appeal and no reasons need to be given. [268.121 – 268.122]. This is contrary to the intent of the long-standing Genocide Convention, which Australia was the third country to sign. We are requesting that the UN Human Rights Commission strongly recommends that the Australian government imports fully the Genocide Convention into domestic law."


- Action

Desert Diaries: NT Intervention: 7 things you can do
26 May 11: "Excerpt from New Internationalist: http://www.newint.org/
The latest Reconciliation Barometer from Reconciliation Australia indicates that we’re making progress on reconciliation, with around half of the population agreeing that the relationship between Indigenous people and other Australians is improving. But there’s still a mountain to climb to close the gap. Here are 7 things you can do: ... "


New Internationalist shop: Teaching Resources: Classroom DVDs:
Our Generation
"The untold story of a hidden struggle through the eyes of the Yolngu people. Hidden from the eyes of the world, Australia’s First Peoples are fighting for freedom. Our Generation is their call to the nation, a fresh and unflinching look at unresolved issues, driven by the Yolngu of Northeast Arnhem Land. From the ongoing controversy of the Northern Territory Intervention, to being forced off their traditional lands into larger townships crippled by social dysfunction, to their languages being removed from school education, to mining deals sidelining traditional owners, the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory are fighting for freedom. Our Generation is their untold story; of a struggle hidden from the eyes of mainstream Australia."


Creative Spirits: Northern Territory Emergence Response (NTER) - "The Intervention": http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/northern-terr...

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

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

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

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

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

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.wordpress.com/

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