Saturday, 24 July 2010

AUSTRALIAN ELDERS : CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THE NORTHERN TERRITORY INTERVENTION AND FOR ABORIGINAL JUSTICE AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Left: Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
Right: Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM

The Racial Discrimination Act and Aboriginal Justice in the NT

In a matter of weeks the international body, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), will be meeting at the UN to review issues of discrimination around the world. The Australian government will present a report that will be a response to the UN’s criticisms related to the Intervention.  The CERD also take note of non-government organisation’s (shadow) reports in an effort to reach an overview of the true nature of the situations from all sides.

Concerned Australians are sending two Aboriginal representatives (Rosalie Kunoth-Monks OAM and Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM), highly respected NT elders. Some of you may have heard Rosalie and Djiniyini in May when they took part in “A Conversation With Elders” at the Melbourne Law School. They will carry with them to Geneva a comprehensive (shadow) report, Loss of Rights – the Despair of Aboriginal Communities in the NT, which basically provides a framework for Aboriginal voices who tell it from their point of view – a very different voice from that presented by the Australian government. Former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Alastair Nicholson, provides the legal background in the report.

Rosalie and Djiniyini will present the report to the 18 CERD  members. This is a most important opportunity for both to talk about what is happening to communities in the Northern Territory and they are both eager to have your help. 

To support them we are asking you 
to write to one or more selected members
 of the Committee whose details are provided below.

Points are provided for you to make into a letter, hopefully using some of your own words. If using the email option, please follow the instructions below.

~~~~~~~~~

Dear…………………..,

  • Australian legislation pertaining to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory (NT) is unjust and discriminatory
  • The ‘concerned Australians’ report, Loss of Rights – the Despair of Aboriginal Communities in the NT, will give the views of Aboriginal people themselves who suffer first hand from the effects of such legislation.
  • The report will be presented in Geneva by two eminent Aboriginal elders, Rosalie Kunoth- Monks and Rev.Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra
  • This will be a very great journey for two elderly and dedicated people, and we are asking you to please, not only read the report, but to find time to meet with and listen to them. 
Yours sincerely,
(Name) and any other personal details you may wish to give.

Letters to members should be sent to Members as below:

C/o Gabriella Habtom
Human Rights Officer and Secretary of the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Human Rights Treaties Division
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel. +41.22.917.9193 - Fax +41.22.917.90.08
e-mail:ghabtom@ohchr.org
Palais Wilson - 52, rue des Pâquis, CH-1201, Geneva, Switzerland
Mailing address: UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

MEMBERS:


Mr Chris Maina PETER (Tanzania)
Professor of Law in the area of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, travelling extensively to lecture. An advocate of the High Court of Tanzania – handling pro bono cases for the poor, and advocates for and defends Indigenous minorities.

Letters or emails sent C/o Gabriella Habtom (as above)



Mr Jose Francisco CALI TZAY (Guatemala) (Vice-Chairperson CERD)

Heavily involved in Indigenous Rights programs, liaising between Guatemalan peasants and the international community, advocating extensively in Latin regions for Indigenous populations and their rights.

C/o Gabriella Habtom (as above)



Ms Anastasia CRICKLEY (Ireland)
Has, and continues to work extensively, within various bodies, in the area of racism, xenophobia and discrimination, especially within the EU.

If you are emailing to Anastacia please send to both her email addresses:

anastasia.crickley@nuim.ie and ghabtom@ohchr.org





Professor Patrick THORNBERRY (UK)
Professor of International Law (Human Rights Law), a member of various international bodies that deal with minority rights and race discrimination. Lectures and writes extensively in this area.

If you are emailing Patrick please send to both his email addresses:

 p.thornberry@keele.ac.uk  and ghabtom@ohchr.org


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