MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 13 April 2010

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 13 April 2010

denniseggingtonAustralia’s shameful record of incarceration of its Indigenous peoples will come under the international spotlight this month.

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples (UNPFII) is about  be presented with a damning report focusing upon the alarming over representation of Indigenous Juveniles held in detention within Western Australia. The boom state will also come under close scrutiny for its mandatory sentencing of Indigenous juveniles along with its appalling track record in relation to Aboriginal deaths in custody.  These issues form part of a broader report focusing on Indigenous juvenile justice across Australia.

Dennis Eggington, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) since 1996, will be in New York this month following his selection to attend a United Nations conference as an experienced Leader and Mentor, 19-30 April, 2010.  (More information on next page)

Looking forward to meeting national and international delegates and talking about the disadvantage faced by our people in WA, Mr. Eggington is motivated by creating a better future for our people. “Our children deserve the same outcomes as any other Australian child and it is heartbreaking and embarrassing that we must seek solutions in forums beyond these shores. Human Rights is the front and centre story of this country and we will continue to shine a light on these hidden issues wherever and whenever we can. We owe this to those who have gone before us and to those who will follow” he said.

For Mr. Eggington, attending New York as part of the delegation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, has been made possible through a funding contribution awarded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. It acknowledges ALSWA’s human rights work and Mr Eggington’s extensive experience, understanding and work in the area of human rights, which includes attending the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1999.

“I’m extremely proud to be attending, not only as ALSWA’s CEO, but also as a Nyungar father and grandfather” said Mr. Eggington who graduated with a ‘Master of Human Rights Education’ from Curtin University of Technology last year. “What I cannot be proud of however is that in a country of such great wealth and opportunity First Nations people continue to experience disadvantage across every social indicator. The world is watching and we all need to recognise that great nations can only be founded upon recognition, reparation and respect” said Mr. Eggington.