Apmer Aharreng Areny-kenh Aknganenty

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Alyawarr Ingkerr-wenh

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Alyawarr Ingkerr-wenh Newsletter, 13 September 2017

The Declaration, ten years on

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 13 September 2007, just a few months after the Northern Territory Emergency Response was legislated.

We call upon the Commonwealth Government to immediately commit to the Declaration's implementation and negotiate a comprehensive agreement with us.

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Self-determination now

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes it clear that the right of self-determination is available to Indigenous peoples.

The Declaration is not a treaty and therefore Australia's endorsement of it in 2009 has no binding effect. However, it does inform the implementation of other human rights treaties, including the ICCPR (which Australia has ratified).

The ICCPR provides that all peoples have a right to self-determination (Article 1).

With Australia seeking to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council, the Commonwealth and NT governments should accede to our and other Aboriginal peoples' right to self-determination and negotiate comprehensive agreements.


NT Government response

The NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner (pictured) has responded to the Aharreng communiqué of 21/6/2017, which calls on the Commonwealth and NT governments to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with us.

In his response letter dated 21/8/2017, the Chief Minister focussed almost entirely on our reference to the apparent opportunities presented by the Ammaroo phosphate deposit.

We have subsequently drawn his attention back to his Government's commitment to supporting self-determination, local decision-making, treaties and empowering and partnering with Aboriginal people.

Let the rhetoric be matched by deeds.


Congratulations Pat

We congratulate Pat Anderson for her leadership in progressing the Constitutional Recognition campaign.

Pat is, of course, an Alyawarr woman. Her family is associated with country around Ooratipra Station.

A tireless campaigner for Aboriginal rights, Pat is widely known for her recent Co-chair role on the Referendum Council.

The 'Makarrata Commission' and ground-up 'Voice-to-Parliament' proposals contained in the Uluru Statement and the Referendum Council's Final Report would give effect to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples if implemented, most notably as exercises of self-determination.


Australia's UN HRC bid

The rights of Indigenous peoples is said to be one of five pillars of Australia's campaign to be elected onto the UN Human Rights Council. The Government says:

    Australia will continue to give practical effect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document.

Neither of Australia's Universal Periodic Reviews (in 2011 and 2015) support this claim. Among other things, Australia was heavily criticised for the Northern Territory Intervention, which does not give effect to the Declaration in any way.


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