A treaty between the Alyawarr people and Australian governments is supported by the human rights framework.
Australia is a signatory to a number of key human rights instruments, most notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Article 1 of each of these covenants provides:
- All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
The right of self-determination is a collective right that is available to the Alyawarr people. This right has been affirmed in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. Article 4 of the Declaration provides:
- Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.
Australia's Federal Parliament endorsed the Declaration in 2009.
Importantly, the Declaration informs the interpretation of the ICCPR and ICESCR. In respect to the right determination, it is now indisputable that it applies to indigenous peoples. The following is a discussion paper on the application of this right to the Alyawarr people.
The International Labour Organization, which adopted ILO Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ILO 169) in 1989 has a substantive indigenous program which could assist with this process. For more information, click on the following link: