Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

Intervention on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

ALSWA drafted and delivered the Joint Intervention by the Indigenous Peoples Organisations of Australia during the Third Session of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in Geneva in July 2010 on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The intervention noted that although Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA were initially reluctant in adopting the Declaration, Australia and New Zealand have reversed their position by supporting the Declaration with Canada and the USA taking steps to move in this direction, whilst stressing the need for unqualified support of the Declaration. The intervention noted that Australia has introduced a new Human Rights Framework that falls short of recognising the rights of Indigenous peoples as the original custodians of the land, or introducing measures to effectively implement the rights set out in the Declaration, and calls on the Australian Government to amend the Framework to include special reference to provisions of the Declaration. The intervention then referred to the need for increased consultation and mechanisms for self-determination of Indigenous peoples in Australia in addition to the new National Indigenous Representative Body in respect of the broad diversity of Indigenous groups in Australia. The intervention suggests greater elevation of the Declaration at the international level in recognition of many of its provisions as customary international law.

The intervention recommended the Expert Mechanism advise the Human Rights Council to:
  • undertake a comparative study on the lessons learned in educating Indigenous peoples on the Declaration, including examples o best practices and challenges;
  • undertake measures to ensure that the Declaration is recognised as part of the international norm in human rights law; and
  • encourage all States to adopt processes to allow for various channels for communication, consultation and engagement with its Indigenous peoples consistent with article 19 of the Declaration.

EMRIP 2010 Intervention Agenda Item 4 IPO.pdf ( 31.28Kb)

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