Howard’s attack on aboriginal communities condemned by UNHCR

The UN Human Rights Committee has condemned the 2007 Howard Government Northern Territorial Intervention. The intervention was a response to a report on child abuse in NT “Little Children are Sacred”.

There were protests all over Australia and in NZ condemning Howards intention to legislate for government management of the aboriginal land, much of it having potential for uranium mining, while refusing to invest in education, housing or long term medical care for the aboriginal communities. The Greens in Aussie and NZ played a part in raising the human rights abuse concerns of aboriginal communities as did Hone Harawira, who famously went ‘walkabout’ to talk to the aboriginal communities over there.

The Report from Human Rights Committee: Australia agrees that the intervention was discriminatory:

The State party should redesign NTER measures in direct consultation with the indigenous peoples concerned, in order to ensure that they are consistent with the Racial Discrimination Act 1995 and the Covenant.

The original Howard response included legislation for five year government leases over aboriginal owned townships, introduction of police from interstate, alcohol bans, quarantining of social security payments and market based rents for community housing. At the time the most rational response came from the
Combined Aboriginal Organistions with facts about the real circumstances of these communities. For example that an

additional $60 million a year was needed over 10 years to provide teachers; 99% of all Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have no substance abuse service and 99% have no dental service. Only 54% have state funded primary care services and 47% have an Aboriginal primary health care service more than 50km distance away.

And that there is an estimated

shortfall of at least 4,000 homes, which the Northern Territory Government conservatively estimates would cost $1.4 billion to provide.” The construction of which would “provide jobs for many community members, resolve shortages of skilled construction workers in rural and remote areas.

And of course, with the 5 year leases over the territories, the government is now able to lease the land to miners, looking to profit from the uranium in the area.

Its great the UN has identified the gross discrimination of the intervention and that groups like Amnesty International continue to campaign on this. We have yet to see what Rudd will do about it though.

12 Comments Posted

  1. Samiela: Not just a little bit either hey? I see in todays paper Obama wants more NZ Troops in Afghanistan (whose cricket team are touring Pakistan at the mo).
    Can I suggest that we have something like the Peace Cops – VWA for our committment ? – the Afghans understand people with guns only too well.
    It’s time to treat them like humans – and let it begin with NZ, by ALL means.

  2. Strings et al.,

    Our politicians seem to think it is OK to send soldiers to places as far away as Afghanistan. They impose sanctions on governments they disapprove of, such as in Fiji. I don’t hear many people up in arms about these government interventions in foreign countries. However, when Metiria simply comments on the shameful government policies directed against the indigenous people of Australia she is criticised. I think I detect some double standards here.

  3. .
    I have to say that I too believe that trawling the minutes of the UN for something to get excited about.

    She was quoted in the DomPost this morning as saying she has many things still to learn, I would suggest she focus on New Zealand learnings before diverting into areas that are more appropriate for others to acquaint themselves with.

  4. @big bro
    As you are not her constituency she is not held accountable to you. I on the other hand expect her tp focus on issues of social justice as that is one of the reasons why the Green party got my vote. Unlike you I expect the people/partys I vote for to earn said vote.

  5. Or maybe she could just refuse and ignore Holy Orders from her opponents. Not take narrow confines as her Place. She is hopelessly outvoted in the House where the Government has decided to solve the Economic Problems we face by simply lifting the cost of everything – one has to ask; Is there any value at all in talking to people who have no shame.
    Personally I was amazed to see how many people on this Blog thought Selfishness a bonny wee trait. Some never get over themselves it seems.
    I thank her for taking a moment to share an interesting view.

  6. samiuela

    Where did I say that Met “represents” me, we both know that is not the case, she represents less than 7% of the people of NZ.

    I said she “works” for me, and as an employee of mine I do not want her wasting my time and money on issue’s that have nothing to do with NZ or are none of our business.

    She could actually (and stick with me here cos this idea might have some merit) spend her time and my money working on Green issues, now wouldn’t that be a good idea.

  7. Big Bro,

    I don’t think Metiria represents you. She represents, as a list MP, those people who voted for the Green Party with their list vote. I would not be surprised if Green party supporters would overwhelmingly back Metira’s comments on this issue.

    The argument goes both ways; personally I think there is a lot of money wasted by National party MPs, but that is because they represent National party supporters, not me. I am not going to grizzle over the fact the National MPs don’t represent me; I don’t expect them to,

  8. Howard Bashing – neat!!!
    Though lots has changed for the better
    What About that Infamous Three Strikes Policy Metiria?
    What a No-World View Bro…..
    Can we learn at least some lessons the easy way – Please?

  9. Surprising who you find yourself in bed with sometimes innit?
    C’mon Bro – this is Howard Bashing – it’s one of the great sports (bloodless).
    Of coarse we’re innerested in our Ocker neighbours…..And What Of That Three Strikes Policy Metiria!
    Maybe wecould all learn something the easy way for a change – even a certain nearly famous cricketer (Ret.)

  10. Met

    I am a tax payer, therefore you indirectly work for me, in these tough economic times I expect you to be spending your time concentrating on issues that concern the day to day problems faced by Kiwi’s living in New Zealand.

    Please stop wasting my time and my money on things like this, Krudd was elected by the people of Australia (more fool them) to do a job, it is none of your business (or mine for that matter) what he is doing and I sure as hell do not pay you to stick your beak in.

    You may want to pass that on to your mate John Harawira as well.

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