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ATSIC supports open door for UN scrutiny.

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Media Release

ATSIC supports open door for UN Scrutiny


24 July 2001


Statement from Geneva by Geoff Clark

The Australian government must show its commitment to improving the circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to the United Nations system by inviting the newly-appointed Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights to visit Australia.

Later today, I will lead a delegation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives to meet privately with Mr Rodolfo Stavenhagen of Mexico, who was recently appointed to the position.

Mr Stavenhagen should be given every encouragement to visit Australia and cooperation in investigating infringements of human rights in Indigenous communities.

The Canadian and New Zealand governments have already openly expressed support for the Special Rapporteur position.

So far the Australian government has been silent on the appointment. I hope that is not a sign of opposition.

Mr Stavenhagen yesterday addressed Indigenous peoples at the 19th session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations. In April the UN Commission on Human Rights decided on the three-year appointment of a Special Rapporteur to monitor the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous people.

In our Asia-Pacific region, Australia can be a pacesetter for global standards on the protection of the Indigenous peoples.

As we move towards the end of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, the government must give a positive and timely message to everyone in Australia by condemning racism against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and promoting universal standards for human rights.

Geoff Clark

ATSIC Chairman

Further information about WGIP: Martin Freckmann 02 6121 4962


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