As a member of the United Nations, Australia has the opportunity to this week show its commitment to the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide. On 13 September 2007 (New York time), the UN General Assembly will consider the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is a non-binding statement on which it has taken over twenty years to get consensus.
‘Today’s UN General Assembly meeting is an important symbolic event for Indigenous peoples worldwide, including Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Australia should support the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The drafting process has involved Indigenous Australians and their organisations. That work should be recognised, celebrated and supported; as should the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide’, said Robin Banks, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
The Declaration sets ‘aspirational targets’ for the treatment of Indigenous peoples worldwide in areas such as self-determination, education, cultural identity, and the use of lands and resources. Ms Banks observed the importance of such targets:
‘While the Declaration is aspirational rather than binding, it represents a consensus view of the minimum rights of Indigenous peoples. The Declaration can provide an important benchmark against which to consider actions by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments when intervening in the lives of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.’
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169