of shock and awe and french human rights awards

it is with a great sense of shock and awe that the years of struggle by isja since late 1997 has been recognised for its ongoing human rights work with aborigines and their families, but especially with those families living through the trauma of a death in custody event.
we are quite sure that no government in australia, at any level, would have ever even entertained the thought that the works of isja warranted any praise or recognition.of our attempts to obtain real justice for those isja represented. there never has been any government plan to give respect to our work.

however, such recognition and respect has been given to isja by the jury granting to isja of one of five laureates in the human rights prize of the french republic for 2013. this is indeed a great honour that was proclaimed yesterday in paris, france by the commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme or the national advisory commission on human rights.(CNCDH). it is my understanding that this human rights organisation was inaugurated in 1947 and its prestige is known world wide. even to be nominated to the commission is an honour in itself.

this award granted to isja is, i believe, the first ever to be given to an aboriginal association in australia and for that isja is greatly proud and humbly honoured. we are quite sure that whilst some of our activities may not have been accepted in their entirety over the years, it is good to know that our accumulative work has been recognised for its good works in the field of human rights for aborigines, essentially, but also our encompassing work with non-aboriginal deaths in custody families, asylum seekers and for those seeking justice in what is seen to be a racist and hostile custodial system.

further to the prize comes a one-off grant, an unknown amount at this time, to enable us to better work with and assist aboriginal death in custody families by both subsidising their travel and accommodation costs when travelling to the coronial inquest of their loved one and, further, to be able to make at least a token payment to the private legal representative,of the family should they wish to take that option. .
whilst the assistance must, by necessity, be minimal, it is our belief that such assistance will be greatly appreciated by those receiving it.

isja sincerely congratulates the other four laureates and also to the four groups who were given a special distinction. we realise that our submission was among other outstanding submissions that were all very worthy of being awarded such a high french honour.

shortly our inaugural president and isja life member, don clark, will be flying to paris, france, to be handed the award either by the fresh president himself or the minister of foreign affairs on human rights day, 10 december, 2013. due to medical considerations i am unable to travel over such distances. the submission work done by don, i am very sure, made just the right difference to making our submission a winner and much thanks and appreciation must go to him for that. we also need to thank the two benefactors who have given the most generous assistance to don to make sure the event is as comfortable as possible for him.

many thanks certainly must go to associate professor joseph pugliese of macquarie university, sydney, who first alerted and greatly encouraged isja to apply for a french human rights award. joseph has been an ardent member and supporter of isja and its works for many years.

finally we sincerely thank eric berti,, the french consol-general for his patience.in dealing with our many questions and a level of impatience at times. to his staff who needed to translate many isja documents to french, we gratefully thank you.

we are still in shock at the outcome of our submission whilst being still in awe at the high recognition that has been bestowed upon us.

details of the cncdh release is below.

all i can say is vive le france!

and a heartfelt thank you to all involved.


ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017


we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.

sovereignty treaty social justice

Sir, Madam,

I inform you that the results of the deliberation of the jury of the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic were officially proclaimed yesterday at the Assembly of the CNCDH :

The following NGOs were awarded the Prize :

· Sabah, for a project on protecting children’s rights in prisons of Khartum, Sudan,

· Indigenous Social Justice Association, for a project planning to defend families of aboriginal citizens deceased while in detention in Australia,

· The Civic Assistance Commitee for a project defending women persecuted because the violated tradition or custom, in Daghestan and Tchetchenia, Russia

· Grandir dignement, for a project defending children’s rights in prisons of Diego, Madagascar,

· The Tchadian Association of Non-Violence, for a project of aid to internally displaced families of Dobeme, Tchad.

The following NGOS received a special distinction :

· ATD Quart-Monde, Philippines

· Centro Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Mexico

· Projeter sans frontières, Colombia

· Chintan, India

Hence, the results are no longer confidential.

For any question regarding communication, feel free to contact Emilie Peinchaud (emilie.peinchaud@cncdh.pm.gouv.fr).

Best regards,

Magali Lafourcade

Secrétaire générale adjointe

Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme (CNCDH)
35, rue Saint-Dominique – 75007 Paris
Tél.: 01. 42. 75. 83. 85 / 77 09 (standard)
FAX: 01 42 75 77 14

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