Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

Human Rights Decision ‘Profoundly Disappointing’ says ALSWA

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 23 April 2010 denniseggingtonMEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 23 April 2010

Human Rights Decision ‘Profoundly Disappointing’ says ALSWA

The Federal Government’s failure to introduce a Human Rights Act is profoundly disappointing, according to the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA).

Speaking from New York, where he is currently attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, a pensive Mr. Eggington said “It is particularly ironic being with representatives of the world’s most eminent human rights body, that we find our own government lacks the fortitude to uphold the rights of its own citizens” said ALSWA’s CEO.

“The very fact that ALSWA is forced to highlight human rights abuses through the United Nations, painfully demonstrates the entrenched marginalisation of Australia’s First Nations Peoples in our own land”. Mr. Eggington said that the Federal government’s refusal to embrace an appropriate rights based approach is ‘a slap in the face’ to the many organisations who contributed to the National Human Rights Consultation process.

“Numerous Indigenous stakeholders throughout Australia strongly supported a Commonwealth Human Rights Act. To then have the government fail to introduce this is disheartening to say the very least”.

ALSWA believes that such a decision undermines the Rudd Government’s assurances that they would protect the rights of this country’s most vulnerable. “In an election year I am dismayed that the Federal Government is prepared to play politics with our people’s lives”. “Human rights should be placed above campaigning and we need our federal leaders to show true leadership in this matter. What we have seen instead is a watered down ‘framework’ which rather than assuring human rights assures nothing more than another bureaucracy”.

Mr. Eggington said that although there was some merit in the Government introducing new measures to improve education about Human Rights, that Aboriginal peoples were already well aware of the issues. “Indigenous peoples have learnt the lesson first hand of what happens when human rights are either abused or withheld. We could certainly teach the government how painful and dispiriting this is if it chooses to listen. Unfortunately with this latest decision it has clearly chosen not to listen”.

ALSWA, along with other Indigenous Advocacy groups at the UN Forum is highlighting the poor track record Australian governments have in providing equal rights to its Indigenous citizens. Mr. Eggington believes that Prime Minister Rudd’s former position as a diplomat should give him reason to reflect on what damage his government’s refusal to implement a Human Rights Act is doing to Australia’s reputation on the international stage.

Contact ALSWA

1800 019 900
ALSWA Freecall from anywhere in WA.

7 Aberdeen Street
Perth WA 6000
(near McIver Train Station)

Phone: +61 8 9265 6666
Fax: +61 8 9221 1767
URGENT AFTER HOURS Criminal Matter:
08 9265 6644
Send a message

ALSWA Services

ALSWA provides legal advice and representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in WA in Criminal, Family, Civil and Human Rights Law with additional services in community legal education, advocacy and the protection and promotion of human rights .

For detailed information about the services ALSWA provides, click the button below:

View our services

Warning

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this website may contain images and names of people who have passed away.

Sponsored By

lex
ms

Banner images by GDAYWA