Wednesday, April 8, 2009

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Great news! Last week, the Australian Government gave its support to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Here’s a run-down of what has happened and where you can learn more.

In her speech at Parliament House, Jenny Macklin described the adoption as “another important step towards re-setting relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

The Declaration recognises “the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples,” and “provides a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.”

In an official statement, Amnesty International Australia has unequivocally applauded the decision, and urged the government to continue to take positive steps on Indigenous rights. Andrew Witheford, Government Relations Manager for Amnesty International Australia, said that the principles in the Declaration should be used in “reforming the law, policy and programmes relating to Indigenous Australians.”

Speaking of which, Amnesty International Australia is gearing up to launch our Demand Dignity Campaign. Demand Dignity will draw attention to human rights violations caused by poverty, and highlight the basic right to an adequate standard of living – the right to food, water, housing, health and education. As part of this campaign the Amnesty in Australia has been undertaking research and meeting with Aboriginal communities in relation to the Northern Territory Intervention. To learn more about Demand Dignity, please see our other post calling for volunteers.


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