Australian aboriginal activist Michael Anderson has stirred some feathers for sure!
Shouting at top of his voice that Australia does not deserve to be on the UN human rights body, he has a question: How can a racist country like Australia have a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission, much less chair it?
Well, I must say I am listening to Anderson, who is a facilitator of the Gumilaroi/Euahlayi Aboriginal Nations (they’re one of the largest Australian Aboriginal groups, numbering 15,000 people)
Anderson says, “Australia is yet to admit to its racist past and accept responsibility. Their constant denial of what they did to us, the Indigenous people, is in fact a crime against humanity that also disqualifies them from sitting in judgment on any other regimes of the world.”
Well here is the context. Appears that Australia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Mike Smith, has just been appointed as chairman of the U.N. Human Rights Commission for 2004.
More quotes from Anderson, as I found on my cyber journey:
‘Given the fact that they continue to have outstanding matters to deal with from the fallout of the 1998 Native Title amendments, Australia are now in a position to cover up their inactivity on the recommendation made by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).’
For the uninitiated, CERD has accused Australia of genocide in the past, too.
‘The government cries crocodile tears over the treatment of white farmers in Zimbabwe, while in Australia they’re granting bucketloads of extinguishments of Native Title interests in favour of European farmers, assuring security and certainty for them. What about land security and certainty for Aborigines?’
‘I hope that the people of Australia and other countries who are aware of the real Australia will inundate foreign embassies within Australia and the various UN Human Rights Committees with submissions about the shameful human rights record.’
‘As long as Australia continues to deny its racist treatment of my people they will always be haunted by an unjust past, and our continued presence will hurt because they will be reminded of it every time they look into our faces.’