Newsletter date: 18 December 2014
WGAR News Public Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en-GB#!forum/wgar-news
WGAR News - Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
* Change.org Petition: Stop the closure of the homelands. State and Federal governments must fund services in remote Aboriginal communities.
* Analysis / Opinion: Gerry Georgatos, The Stringer: "Ethnic cleansing" said Dennis Eggington of forcible removals off Country
* Audio: NIRS: Proposed WA remote community closures labelled "ethnic cleansing"
* Media Release: Ghillar Michael Anderson, Sovereign Union: History repeats: Ethnic cleansing in ACT 1954 and now in WA removal from homelands
* Analysis / Opinion: The Stringer: Australia's human rights record shambolic according to Pope Francis and Bishop Saunders
* Media Release: ACSJC: Human Rights Day: Time for Australia to Take Stock
* Analysis / Opinion: Melissa Parke, The Guardian: Aboriginal people are entitled to be treated as human beings, not just as a fiscal problem
* Video: Bronwyn Herbert & Leigh Sales, ABC 7.30: Remote Aboriginal communities face closure, leaders voice concerns
* Analysis / Opinion: Dr Woolombi Waters, The Stringer: To end our trauma government must stop the assault on our People and our Culture
* Background: Plans to close Aboriginal homelands / remote communities in WA and SA
- Change.org Petition
Petition: Stop the closure of the homelands. State and Federal governments must fund services in remote Aboriginal communities.
"Petitioning Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett & Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott ...
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has announced the state will close 100 to 150 of the 274 remote communities in WA. He has stated that the WA government will not pick up the shortfall once Federal funding ends in July 2015.
The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia are also under threat due to the withdrawal of federal funding.
Communities in the Northern Territory have already been closed, having devastating consequences on those who have been removed from their lands.
"We see this as the biggest threat to our people since the shocking events of the 1960s ... we assert the right of people to live in and on their traditional country, for which they have ancient and deep responsibilities. To be talking of relocating people off their traditional country does indeed take us back 50 years in a very ugly way." Fitzroy Valley traditional owners and native title holders.
Homeland communities allow people to live on their country. ... "
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: "Ethnic cleansing" said Dennis Eggington of forcible removals off Country
14 Dec 14: "The push by the Western Australian Government to close down the majority of homeland (remote) communities has been labelled by the CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Services WA, Dennis Eggington, as "ethnic cleansing". ... Mr Eggington said, "I have seen the parliamentary Hansard list of those 150 communities in Western Australia and it is nothing but ethnic cleansing." "It is ethnic cleansing of the last lot of tribal lands where ceremony is held and where languages are spoken."" By Gerry Georgatos, a life-long human rights and social justice campaigner, a multi-award winning investigative journalist
NIRS: Proposed WA remote community closures labelled "ethnic cleansing"
12 Dec 14: "The CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) has described the state Government's decision to close about 150 remote communities as "ethnic cleansing"." Warren Barnsley with Koori Radio
- Media Release
Sovereign Union: History repeats: Ethnic cleansing in ACT 1954 and now in WA removal from homelands
18 Dec 14: "I remind the public that in 1954 the young Queen Elizabeth on her first trip to Australia as Queen personally signed a law in Canberra that permitted the ethnic cleansing of the Australian Capital Territory, clearing it of resident Aboriginal Peoples. ...
Now we find that proxy agents, in the guise of governance, continue to sign laws into place to remove Aboriginal people from their homelands yet again, as is the recent case in Western Australia and now South Australia, following on from the Northern Territory Intervention of 2007.
Clearly, this monarch and her colonial authorities do not consider Aboriginal Peoples have any rights whatsoever. ...
The human rights violations we are experiencing all over this country are themselves genocidal ...
The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Article II defines genocide as:
Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The forced removal of Peoples from their ancient homelands is totally unacceptable and relates to Article II(c) in particular. As a First Nations Peoples we must fight this autocratic dictatorship, no matter what the cost may be." Ghillar Michael Anderson, Convenor and Joint Spokesperson of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: Australia's human rights record shambolic according to Pope Francis and Bishop Saunders
14 Dec 14: "Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders says Australia’s human rights record is being undermined by inhumane policies. Bishop Saunders pointed to the asylum seeker asylum policies which deny refugees sanctuary and the push by the Western Australian Government to close up to 150 of the State’s 274 homeland (remote) communities. He is also concerned that the South Australian Government may follow Western Australia’s lead and close as many as 100 communities." By The Stringer
- Media Release
ACSJC - Australian Catholic Social Justice Council: Human Rights Day: Time for Australia to Take Stock
9 Dec 14: " ... Commonwealth and State governments seem unwilling to scrape together a small fraction of that amount to provide basic services to remote Indigenous communities. Anywhere up to 150 remote towns in Western Australia face closure because the State Government says it can’t find a meagre $90 million to fund municipal and essential services that were recently offloaded to the states by the Commonwealth Government. Aboriginal communities in South Australia are also at risk,” Bishop Saunders said. ... "
- Analysis / Opinion
The Guardian: Aboriginal people are entitled to be treated as human beings, not just as a fiscal problem
9 Dec 14: "The planned closure of 150 remote Indigenous communities will have devastating consequences. The reason behind it is hypocritical in the extreme ... Before last year’s federal election, Tony Abbott promised he would be "a prime minister for Aboriginal affairs. The first I imagine that we have ever had." The Coalition also promised to "continue the current level of funding expended on Closing the Gap activities." Instead, the first budget of the Abbott government cut $500m directly from Indigenous affairs." Melissa Parke, the Labor member for Fremantle
ABC 7.30: Remote Aboriginal communities face closure, leaders voice concerns
8 Dec 14: "Aboriginal communities across remote Western Australia may be closed due to funding pressures but Indigenous leaders are concerned about what that could mean. ... In Western Australia, Indigenous leaders are claiming hundreds of people may become fringe dwellers in the Kimberley's major towns as a result of a plan to close up to 150 outstations. The West Australian Government's planning to cut off water and electricity to the remote communities, partly due to a Commonwealth government funding freeze, but also due to concerns about violence, alcohol abuse and suicide. ... " Reporter: Bronwyn Herbert; Presenter: Leigh Sales
- Analysis / Opinion
The Stringer: To end our trauma government must stop the assault on our People and our Culture
11 Dec 14: " ... The Northern Territory Australian of the year, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks absolutely rejects the ongoing policies of this government. She says: "Stop the assault, the government is in violation of human rights. We demand that they stop the dictatorship and assault on First Australians. I want an absolute halt to the punitive assault of our people. "We have to rise above what is happening. I will not be dictated to by anyone. I speak from the degree of my Traditional Homelands. That is who I am and who I represent and I now find myself speaking as a Black woman fighting for survival. ... "" By Dr Woolombi Waters, a Kamilaroi language speaker and writer, a lecturer at Griffith University. He writes a weekly column for the National Indigenous Times.
Background: Plans to close Aboriginal homelands / remote communities in WA and SA
(Last updated: 8 December 2014)
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WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)
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