The Australian Government is actively sustaining cultural violence against Indigenous Australians. The Abbott Government is trying to force 150 Aboriginal Australian communities off their lands in Western Australia. This would displace up to 12,000 Aboriginal Australians, effectively making them refugees in their own ancestral lands. This comes after months of ongoing campaigns to address:
- The removal of 15,000 Indigenous children: The Grandmothers Against Removals group have been fighting for the return of Aboriginal children who live in so-called “out of home care,” away from their families. This practice goes back to early colonialism, where Indigenous children were removed from their communities and forced to give up their culture.
- The Indigenous Advancement Strategy: The Government announced that $860 million of Commonwealth funding would be cut from already under-resourced Indigenous programs.
- The denial of basic services to remote Indigenous communities: as shown in the Utopia Homelands in the Northern Territory, an Indigenous community that lived without clean water for two months in late 2014.
A 2011 DNA study published in Science, headed by Professor Morten Rasmussen, shows that Aboriginal Australians are descendants of the first people to leave Africa up to 75,000 years ago. The study provides genetic evidence that Aboriginal Australians represent the oldest continuous culture on Earth.
Rather than supporting Indigenous culture as a unique national resource, with special insight on everything from cultural resilience, to history, to environmental sustainability, the Abbott Government is instead opting to maintain colonial practices that push our traditional landowners off their country. Aboriginal people made their move to Australia 24,000 years before the first wave of people who would eventually populate Asia and Europe.
The displacement of Indigenous Australians is in direct violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states Indigenous people “have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.” Under this charter, nation states have a responsibility to:
“provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (and)
Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources."
Australia is the only Commonwealth nation in the world not to have a treaty with our Indigenous people.
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