Australian news, and some related international items

Close the Gap and Apology are band-aid measures – a far cry from treaties & decolonisation

Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, Asserting Australia’s First Nations Sovereignty into Governance,, 12 February 2018, 

Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Leader of the Euahlayi Nation said from Goodooga today:

“I don’t believe a modern treaty process will get any further than the National Aboriginal Conference (NAC) did, unless Sovereign First Nations declare sovereign independence through UDIs and force decolonisation through a united front. Understandably, First Nations’ assertions of sovereignty have been honed in the intervening 30 plus years. I constantly remind our people that our reality is we hold the continental Common Law, but are occupied by a foreign power ruling in right of the British Crown. Until this changes through decolonisation, Close the Gap, Apology and other government policies remain as band aid measures.”

Statement in full:

“So long as a Rhodes Scholar is running this country the vested interests of the British Crown are paramount and remain in line with mining magnate Cecil Rhodes’ legacy of educating scholars to run and exploit a country for Britain’s benefit. PM Malcolm Turnbull, a Rhodes Scholar with a Bachelor of Civil Law from Brasenose College, Oxford is the latest agent of the coloniser to ensure First Nations’ inherent sovereign rights to lands, waters and natural resources are quashed.

This is consistent with Turnbull’s continuing fiasco of the Closing the Gap agenda, which has clearly failed, despite minor improvements announced today. In reality, the Turnbull government wants to either abandon the Close the Gap program, or water down the targets, despite recent recommendations from the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), to do otherwise and properly engage with ‘Indigenous people’. [ ] & [ ]

Turnbull may talk about ‘refreshing’ Close the Gap to appear in line with the CERD recommendations of 2017, but fails to provide the requested ‘disaggregated data’ for a proper evaluation. In fact, the Turnbull government is belligerently ignoring the CERD’s 2017 findings, which were strategically released on Boxing Day, 26 December 2017. CERD was highly critical of Australia’s treatment of First Nations and Peoples and failure to address remedies.

At para 19 the CERD states:

  1. … despite statements by the State Party that it rejects the principle ofterra nulliusgrounded in the “discovery discourse”, the State party continues to conduct its relations with indigenous peoples, in a manner that is not reconcilable with their rights to self-determination and to own and control their lands and natural resources.

Once again the CERD recommends Australia ‘enter into good faith treaty negotiations’ [para20]. This is, in fact, a recognition of First Nations’ pre-existing and continuing sovereignty because the only meaning of treaty in modern international law is an agreement between sovereign Nations.

The CERD also recommends ‘that the State party move urgently to effectively protect the land rights of indigenous peoples, including by amending the Native Title Act 1993, with a view to lowering the standard of proof required and simplifying the applicable procedures. It also urges the State party to ensure that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is incorporated into the Native Title Act 1993 and into other legislation, as appropriate, and fully implemented in practice.’ [ CERD/C/AUS/CO/18-20 ] (emphasis added)

Read more of this Statement by Ghillar when it becomes available

February 14, 2018 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL

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