Australia the “new apartheid ‘ nation attracts UN condemnation for failing
to tackle racism.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the
UN Race Discrimination Commissioner says the next Australian government must
amend the constitution to make it impossible to suspend the Racial Discrimination
The act was suspended in 2007 to roll out the Northern Territory intervention in Aboriginal communities and has yet to be fully reinstated.
The Australian Government suspended Race legislation on the pretext of seeking to tackle reported child sexual abuse among the Aboriginal communities.
What then followed was the simply beyond comprehension Behaving like a 19th Century colonial power Australia engaged in the widespread oppression of an entire community.
Bob Katter MP from Queensland condemned the suspension of the legislation in 2005. He said:
“The fact that they’ve had all alcohol taken off them, all pornography taken off them and they’re going to have their money taken off them and handed to them — like they were little children — through a trust fund sounds good but in reality it is the most dreadful, discriminatory, repressive laws.”
One of the reasons why I was opposed to the intervention in the Northern Territory is that a blanket approach such as that does not recognise the flexibility that is required”, he said on February 19, 2008.
A Canadian child services expert visiting the country recently says she was
horrified by the large scale human rights abuses committed by the Federal intervention.
Dr Cindy Blackstock was in Darwin for the World Indigenous Women and Wellness Conference held in August 2010.
She said that although Canada treats its Indigenous people very poorly she
finds the intervention in the Northern Territory completely shocking.
She said: “I don’t understand why this broad scale violation of human rights is being used to legitimise meeting the basic needs of Indigenous people here. It seems like the Government is trying to find small ways of which this intervention has been successful as a means of legitimising its continuance.”
She said the Indigenous people are not given enough power:
“The very best thing that Government can do is listen to the Indigenous peoples of the area”.
A United Nations report has condemned the intervention saying it shows discrimination is structurally embedded in Australia.
UN Committee member Patrick Thornberry lamented the fact that the Australian constitution lacks any entrenched protection against racial discrimination.
UN Commissioner Graeme Innes who said the UN committee was shocked at the Federal Government’s policy in the Northern Territory reinforced his comments.
He said:”The actions that needed to be taken in the Northern Territory could have been done on a non-discriminatory basis”.
So what the committee is recommending to Australia is not only we completely remove the suspension – which we haven’t yet done – but we entrench in the constitution a provision so that never again can race discrimination law be suspended in Australia.” He said.
Mr. Innes says Australia is in denial about being a racist country:
“We need to do much better in terms of having a national multicultural policy, which we haven’t had for almost 15 years, which includes an anti-racism strategy”.
I think the problem for Australia is that we try to pretend that racism isn’t there. What we need to do is face the facts that there are elements of racism in this country and take some positive action to address it.” He said.
With Aboriginals facing unprecedented levels of racism including an extraordinarily high number of death in custody, black communities in Australia will need broad international support if they are to force Australians to face up to their deeply entrenched racism.
The UN CERD committee slammed the fact that Australia had ignored all its previous recommendations outlined in 2000, 2005 and repeated in 2010, The UN requested the government to report back on what it was doing about the latest concerns and recommendations at the end of October, 2012.
However if there is no international pressure on Australia then such flagrant disregard for human rights violations will continue unabated.