You should be aware by now that the Australian Government has submitted its ‘periodic report’ to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The report will be examined by CERD in August, in Geneva, Switzerland (probably in the second week of August).
It is customary for non-government organisations to submit independent reports – called ‘Shadow Reports’ – to give another viewpoint of the government’s efforts to eliminate racial discrimination.
My organisation, FAIRA, has been submitting reports to CERD since 1998 and this has led to some significant attention by the committee and the United Nations to the situation of racism in Australia. Our first reports were aimed at the discriminatory native title laws in Australia and we have continued to highlight this and other situations.
ATSIC and the Australian Human Rights Commission have also played a significant part in the CERD processes regarding Australia’s performance. (Some might think, as I do, that such steps led to the government hostile actions against ATSIC.)
CERD has made a number of criticisms and recommendations regarding Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues and these reports do affect Australia’s international reputation. Currently CERD is monitoring Australia’s actions regarding the Northern Territory intervention, and calling for reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act amongst other reforms.
FAIRA is cooperating with a number of human rights organisations around Australia to submit a cpmprehensive Shadow Report to CERD. We are being supported by information from at least two of the Aboriginal legal services.
However time is running out and the Shadow Report must soon be completed to allow final production and submission on time.
CAN YOU PROVIDE INFORMATION / INPUT FOR THE SHADOW REPORT?
We want to have more information regarding the problems of racial discrimination being faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders around Australia. Even if you think your situation is not unique we would like case studies, to show the impact of the racism.
Please email me at to provide submission, information, cases or even ideas.
But I need this information quickly, within days, or one week if possible, to include into the Shadow Report.
A copy of the Shadow Report will be made available once it is completed. Also I will try to keep you posted on the events at CERD in August. In the meantime I will try to send out more informative material about Australia’s international obligations to eliminate racism and to uphold the rights of Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Act now to make a difference. You can be a part of holding Australia accountable in the international community. Don’t let the government even think that it can survive as a racist State.