PO Box 281
East Melbourne 8002
16 August 2009
Dear Professor Anaya,
The attached letters contain signatures of three thousand Australians who have genuine concerns
about human rights in this country.
You will be aware from the few emails you have received that the letters have been signed by a cross section of the Australian community, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, individuals, small community organisations and larger ones.
A number of senior church leaders have joined parishioners and social justice groups to express their frustration at the growing control being exerted over the lives of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. The failure to negotiate directly with Aboriginal people, regarding appropriate ways of addressing social problems that are the result of many decades of government neglect, is creating an environment of disillusionment and despair.
There is a strong belief that now the government has indicated its intention to reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act, that the time has arrived to engage in genuine negotiation with Aboriginal people from all nations in line with Article 23 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is also time to cease coercive attempts to regain control over land through lease arrangements and discard policies that seek to undermine rights of those Aboriginal people who seek to remain a distinctive peoples living traditional lives on homelands.
Those who have added their signatures to these letters appreciate that the Australian Government has given support to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and look to the UN to ensure that the obligations under the Declaration will be fulfilled.
During your travels over the next two weeks we hope you will remember that people from every state share the concerns that are indicated above, and particularly when you are in the Northern Territory know that these letters contain the names of people from Darwin, Bagot Community, Larrakeyah, Alice Springs, Katherine , Yirrkala , Yuendumu, Nhulunbuy, Lajamanu, Milingimbi, Eva Valley, Beswick, Oenpelli, Barunga, Numbulwar, Groote Eyelandt, Nganmarriyanga, Peppimenarti, Gapuwiyak, Yilpara, Gove, Yarralin, Bulman, Black Tank, Batchelor, Ski Beach, Ngukurr, Dhalinubuy, Tenant Creek, Ramingining, Galiwin’ku, Kintore, Utopia and Willowra.
On behalf of concerned Australians
Here is the Media Release
issued this morning
UN Official to Report
on Aboriginal Human Rights
Prof. James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Human Rights is visiting various centres in
Several thousand Aboriginal people from across the
The visit coincides with Government efforts to convince Aboriginal communities through a flawed consultation process, that special measures to restrict their human rights are acceptable.
The letter requests Prof Anaya to:
- encourage the Australian Government to respect and recognise the views of all Aboriginal people through new and genuine negotiation with Aboriginal elders
- insist that human rights principles as outlined in the UN Convention against Racial Discrimination be applied
- encourage the Government to re-instate the Racial Discrimination Act without discriminatory “special measures”.
The letter notes that the existing “special measures” were imposed and are overtly discriminatory and would have been illegal had the Racial Discrimination Act not been suspended. It notes further that the Government should provide choice to individuals and communities, including the choice to accept or reject any or all of the special measures.
In June this year the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission asked for the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to negotiate agreements with governments. “We are united against the NT Intervention in its current form”
Irene Fisher, CEO at Sunrise Health Services in Katherine NT catering to 3500 Aboriginal people in surrounding communities said, “Current measures under the Intervention are discriminatory and are contributing to widening the gap not closing it or reducing disadvantage”
Janet Hunt, president of ANTaR stated that, “Whilst ANTaR urges the Federal and NT governments to address the serious problems in the
A small group of concerned Australians in
Signatories to the letter come from every state and territory of Australia, and from the Northern Territory they include signatures from people in Darwin, Bagot Community, Larrakeyah, Alice Springs, Katherine , Yirrkala , Yuendumu, Nhulunbuy, Lajamanu, Milingimbi, Eva Valley, Beswick, Oenpelli, Barunga, Numbulwar, Groote Eyelandt, Nganmarriyanga, Peppimenarti, Gapuwiyak, Yilpara, Gove, Yarralin, Bulman, Black Tank, Batchelor, Ski Beach, Ngukurr, Dhalinubuy,Ramingining, Galiwin’ku, Kintore, Utopia and Willowra.
If you wish to send the letter
it will be published in the next post.
You can then forward hard copy
to the post office box for RDA
listed in this post
send it to the email address
which was given at the bottom
of the press release in the previous post.
Any problems, please email