UN Denounces Australia’s Discrimination Against Aborigines

The United Nations Human Rights Committee sharply criticized the Australian government’s oppression of Aborigines, stating that its discrimination against indigenous people violated an international human rights treaty. The panel of international experts urged Australia to reform mandatory sentencing laws that set jail terms for repeat offenders, which target and disproportionately punish young Aborigines who commit minor crimes. The committee also rebuked Australia for its reluctance to amend the damage done by past assimilation policies. Between 1910 and 1970 the government authorized the abduction of around 100,000 young Aborigines so that the indigenous persons could be raised in a “civilized” environment. The U.N. panel, urging Australia to make compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights a legal priority, argued that Aborigines – who constitute 2.3 percent of a population of 19 million – still suffer from discrimination.


Reuters 28 July 2000

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