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Reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory

This petition was published by ANTaR on Jul 29, 2009

Dear Professor Anaya,

Many Australians, Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal, are hopeful of your support in communicating the following views to the Australian government.

  • There is strong support for the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA).

  • 'Special measures' in their current and proposed form in the Northern Territory, Australia, are discriminatory and opposed to by very many Aboriginal people.

  • 'Special measures' were imposed on Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory in 2007. These ‘special measures’ are racist and would have been illegal had the RDA not been suspended.

  • The current ‘consultations’ process based on the ‘Futures Directions - discussion paper’ is flawed and any findings must be disregarded. The document is complex, biased towards preferred government policy, written in the English language and presented without the regular use of interpreters. Consultations are not transparent and no records of meetings are available.

  • Government must re-commit to the recently articulated principle that ‘one size does NOT fit all’, and provide choice to individuals and communities, including the choice to accept or reject any or all of the special measures.

  • Re-engagement in genuine negotiation with Aboriginal elders and their representatives must be commenced as soon as possible. The process must be transparent and independent facilitators should be engaged for the purpose. In this regard attention should be paid to the statement from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission:

  • As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christians, representing many different denominations and backgrounds, we are united against the NT Intervention in its current form” and asks government to, ‘Recognise the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to negotiate agreements with governments. We stress negotiation as distinct from consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples about the implementation of policy and programs which have already been developed and decided on. (4 June 2009)

Professor Anaya, we welcome you to Australia and we call on you to encourage our government to respect and recognise the views of all Aboriginal people through genuine negotiation and respect for human rights. Consultations in their current form are manipulative and are aimed at maintaining racist legislation.

Yours sincerely,

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