This week our Principal Solicitor, George Newhouse, along with number of First Nations leaders, met with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.
The meeting was held to discuss matters of justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that fall within the Special Rapporteur’s mandate.
Ms Tauli Corpuz’s visit to Australia has included an examination of the impact of the Government takeover of remote Aboriginal communities following the 2007 intervention. She is looking at indigenous detention conditions, land rights, violence against women and the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, with her report expected to be released in September.
The Special Rapporteur is an independent human rights expert who works to find ways to achieve full, effective protection of the rights of indigenous people. She also examines allegations of violation of indigenous people’s rights. The Special Rapporteur provides international support to indigenous groups on issues such as native title claims.
George Newhouse, who made the complaint to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination after the intervention in 2007 said: “We have been complaining about the impact of the intervention on Aboriginal and Torres Strait island communities since 2007 and things just seem to be getting worse. We have seen a deterioration in conditions in many communities. The scrutiny of a UN investigation will throw fresh light onto these issues.”
“I’m hopeful that, working with First Nations leaders, the Special Rapporteur will be able to send a clear message to our Government that things need to change, and make effective recommendations for doing so.”
“The Special Rapporteur’s visit also gave us a chance to reflect on the National Justice Project’s ‘Aboriginal Health Matters’ campaign to hold health services accountable for discrimination in the provision of health care.”