“Don’t let Australia into the United Nations Human Rights Council”

Racism in Australia  - 1

Australia has announced its intention to seek election to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2018-20 term. An Aboriginal leader, Michael Ghillar Anderson, has asked Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General to turn Australia down.  In a letter to Ban he accuses Australia of perpetrating gross violations of human rights against First Nations and Peoples and notes that it does not have an effective law against genocide. Open the complete letter here.


The Council is the UN’s preeminent human rights body, meant to take action in response to the most serious global human rights violations and emergencies and to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe.


Writing for the Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, which he convenes, Anderson says they are shocked and alarmed that Australia should try to get onto the Human Rights Council. “We object in the strongest terms to Australia being considered for such a high and important role in world affairs. On 10 November 2015 110 UN member states criticised Australia’s human rights record and made over 300 recommendations to improve its human rights standards and practices.


“Australia's policies in relation to human rights are a history of abhorrence, which continues into the present.”


Other excerpts from the letter:


“It must be emphasised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were never part of the democratic process. In fact there were State legislative regimes that enslaved Aboriginal people to a State regime of assimilation and institutionalise genocide.”


“Current Australian governments continue to deny basic fundamental Human Rights and freedoms to Aboriginal Peoples through their widespread institutionalised racism. Some of this has been documented in the UN Treaty bodies such as CERD.”


“The fact that Australia can pass legislation in the national parliament to suspend the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act from applying to the racist legislation the Native Title Act as amended in 1998 and the Northern Territory Emergency Response] that denies due process to Aboriginal people is not a shining light for someone with an ambition to sit on the international Human Rights Council or any UN Committees and make judgements on the actions of other UN member states.”


“Australia is a western democratic country that defies and denies public scrutiny of its internal race relations so much so that in March 2000 denied the American Special Rapporteur for the CERD, Gay McDougall, by refusing her an entry permit into Australia. Gay McDougall had also questioned: If the Racial Discrimination Act was overridden, did that amount to a repudiation of the State party’s obligations under the Convention? We argue Australia is in breach of its obligations under the ICERD.”


“Australia approves mining companies' Environmental Impact Statements and permits major mining operation on Aboriginal Lands without Aboriginal Peoples' free prior and informed consent. There is no free prior and informed Aboriginal consent to desecration of sacred ground. Moreover, all Australian laws defy the terms of the Hague Convention, which Australia has ratified, regarding cultural destruction and history of our Peoples.”


“There are very few Aboriginal people in Australia who have been made aware that [various] international rights have become part of the common law system of Australia, thus impairing any notion of Aboriginal and/or Torres Islander Peoples demanding these rights to be initiated within Australia, so that they become an action in Australian law as opposed to them being aspirational.”


Australia does not seem to learn from any actions of gross violations of human rights throughout the world, nor do they look back on their own history, which is why they continue to perpetrate the gross violations of human rights against Aboriginal people, rather than initiating a program of reparation. The laws and initiatives that they float in the international community are extremely deceitful bordering on lies. The legislative aims and objectives appear to be very progressive and innovative, but the operations on the ground are so restrictive as to deem most actions totally ineffective and do not work for Aboriginal people in their communities.”


For fifty years Australia has been a signatory to the Genocide Convention, but will not enact it in its own backyard. Yet Australia will still condemn and penalise others for their atrocities but will not own up to atrocities against the First Nations and Peoples of this land.”


Anderson is a leading stirrer against the government push to write Aborigines into the Australian constitution, which he derides angrily as yet another fraud against them. The government has thrown millions of dollars at its campaign, just recently yet another 15 million dollars in the weeks-old budget, but not a cent for objection to it.


A poll finds 75% of mainstream Australians supporting Aboriginal inclusion in the constitution, whilst among Aborigines it is a highly and increasingly divisive issue. Anderson says Aborigines just don’t get enough information about what’s at stake and the more who find out, the more oppose.


The government has hitched a “pretty face” Aborigine to its wagon, prominent television journalist, Stan Grant, appointing him as an adviser. He was promptly challenged for that at a recent conference in Alice Springs about the Aboriginal suicide epidemic. If you want a deeper understanding of the recognition dispute, there’s an excellent video of a discussion about it (scroll down) on Brisbane Aboriginal radio.


“In the context of the forthcoming elections [2 July] it is important for First Peoples to raise some very serious issues,” Anderson writes. “The allocation of $15 million on top of the already generous budget for the Recognise campaign, while ignoring grass roots opposition, is only a pathetic and condescending approach to something that may not get up as a successful referendum vote. There is still no final wording for the text of a constitutional referendum and First Peoples are demanding treaties rather than tokenistic words in the racist constitution, which defines us as ‘aliens’ not citizens.”

Anderson also accuses the federal government of coercing Aboriginal organisations to support the Recognise campaign, otherwise their funding is cut.

“On 2 June 2015, the Aboriginal Medical Service of Western Sydney (AMSWS) broke the news that a key performance indicator of funding through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) was demonstrable support for Recognise.

A month later comes the news that all federal funding is ceasing and the AMSWS will be forced to close its doors to the 11,000 patients to whom it provides healthcare.”


“Furthermore, the “captain's pick” to have Pat Dodson made a senator for three weeks is an absolute insult to many Aboriginal people and to then parade him around is all designed to pretend to the world that the Australian government loves Aboriginal people. In regards to this, grassroots have another interpretation for the acronym for Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) that coercively surrender inherited homelands without a whimper, it is ‘I Love You Aborigines!’”

This is happening while state and federal police throughout the country continue to exercise absolute force, instilling of terror into our people, Anderson writes. “This is not shown by main stream media and the politicians.”

“Both sides of the Commonwealth government are taking this opportunity to falsely pretend to the rest of the world that Australia has a good little government despite still having to use their 'training wheels', because the mother state England has not yet released the colonial shackles. The overall focus is to gain a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.”

Contact: Ghillar Michael Anderson, Convenor of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples in Australia, and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic, Mogila Station, Goodooga, NSW 2838. ghillar29@gmail.com,  0499 080 660, www.sovereignunion.mobi.