Australia to oppose U.N. Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Interrnational Working Group on Indigenous Affairs reports:

“According to information received from New York, the UN General Assembly’s final vote on adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is scheduled for September 13, 2007. The Declaration was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2006. Since then, opposition to the text of the Declaration has grown, and negotiations have thus continued. According to the latest news from New York, an agreement has now been reached between the opposing African states and the states promoting the Declaration to adopt it with nine new amendments. The global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus support the adoption of the Declaration with these amendments. It is IWGIA’s view that adoption of the Declaration would be a major step towards eliminating the widespread human rights violations suffered by over 370 million Indigenous people worldwide.”

The recent ‘interverntion’ of the Australian Government into First Peoples lives in the Northern Territory runs entirely contrary to the provisions and spirit of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The ethnocidal approach of the Howard government is premised on the extinction of Australia’s First Peoples as First Peoples.

Read Democrats media release and see link to National Indigenous Times story


Senator Andrew Bartlett
Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland
Australian Democrats spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs

Dated: 10 September 2007
Portfolio: Indigenous Affairs

Democrats condemn Coalition’s opposition to Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has condemned the Coalition for opposing his motion in the Senate today calling for support for the proposed United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

“The federal government has failed this key test of showing genuine commitment to rights for Indigenous people, rather than just using them as a vehicle for political point-scoring and power grabs,” Senator Bartlett said.

“After a decade of the Coalition government trashing UN conventions and belittling rights they repeatedly evoked the Convention on the Rights of the Child to justify their Northern Territory intervention. They have also drawn on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to justify plebiscites on local government amalgamation in Queensland.

“Mr Howard should now build on his new found commitment to international rights and ensure his government supports the adoption of this Declaration when it is voted on in the UN General Assembly within the week.

“We are also sending a message to the Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper who will be addressing federal parliament tomorrow. His government is well known for its opposition to the Convention and I strongly urge him to rethink his position.

“This Convention is a key opportunity to establish genuine benchmarks for basic rights for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous peoples throughout the world.

“The ‘concerns’ expressed by the Australian government to justify their opposition to the Convention are hollow, meaningless excuses and misleading red herrings to cover up the simple fact that the only rights the Coalition likes are ones that suit their immediate political agenda.”

“The federal government has shown once again it is not genuine about ensuring equality for Indigenous Australians.

“There is no good reason why this Convention should not be supported in its amended form. It is non-binding and mostly reflects rights contained in a range of other existing international instruments,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

UN Draft Dec poised to pass; Bartlett highlights Howard’s hypocrisy
Thursday, 6 September 2007


UN Indigenous declaration “unworkable”: Brough
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 4:46:50 PM

By Adam Gartrell