Indigenous Peoples and International Law:
Examples of Engagement and Guidance on Application in Australia
27 October 2010, Convention Centre, Melbourne WA
National Community Legal Centre’s 2010 Conference ‘Breaking New Ground’
Presented by Ms Tammy Solonec, Managing Solicitor, Ms Seranie Gamble International Law and Human Rights Solicitor, Law and Advocacy Unit, Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) and Mr Ben Schockman, Human Rights Law Resource Centre (HRLRC)
ALSWA has turned to international mechanisms and frameworks to empower Aboriginal peoples and advocate for their fundamental human rights. In 2009 we hosted a community forum with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples and saw many of the issues we raised at the meeting contained in his final report on the situation in Australia released in March 2010. For the first time ALSWA sent delegates to participate in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York and Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in Geneva. This seminar provided an overview of Indigenous peoples and international law and reflections on our work at these international forums. The Human Rights Law Resource Centre (HRLRC) then gave an overview of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) and how it can be used in Australia to advance the rights of Aboriginal peoples. A practical exercise was then used to engage participants in understanding the practical impact of the Declaration in Australia.