Survival calls for a new start in Aboriginal relations 24 January 2008

To mark Australia Day on 26 January Survival International calls on Australia’s new government to lay the foundations for a fresh start in relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In particular, it calls for:

• A complete overhaul of the previous government’s controversial emergency programme in the Northern Territory, which was widely condemned by Aboriginal organizations. The scrapping of the entry permit system and the compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal communities were especially criticized.

• Measures to speed up the process by which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can secure native title to their lands, and widen the number of people who can use the procedure to recover or secure their land.

Survival’s recent report ‘Progress can kill’ highlights how indigenous peoples’ loss of their land and loss of control over their lives causes immense harm to their physical and mental health.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The chronic social and economic problems afflicting so many Aboriginal people can only be successfully overcome with their active involvement. Imposing ‘solutions’ doesn’t work – if the last forty years have taught us anything, it’s that. Australia now has a golden opportunity to really address this issue, which has been a stain on the country’s reputation for so long, as well as the cause of untold misery.’

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email mr@survival-international.org

 

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