Today, which many know as Invasion Day and others know as Australia Day, many ask the question of what we can do to move forward as a nation.
Some think the best way forward is through a Treaty while others call for Constitutional reform – some call for both or variations of the two.
IndigenousX has long expressed concern that both of these options necessitate respect, trust and good faith between negotiating parties – between the Federal Government of Australia and First Nations peoples of Australia – and that such good faith does not currently exist.
In order to create an environment where such relationships could be developed, IndigenousX is calling for the ratification of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into Australian law.
This is something that most First Nations people from both the Treaty and the Constitutional camps agree needs to be implemented; does not compromise either endeavour and; is something that Australia is already a signatory to.
Ratifying the UNDRIP, to give legal effect, would alleviate a number of pressing concerns:
- It would embed the notion of self-determination being essential to our rights in asserting ourselves individually and collectively (Article 3).
- It would necessitate protections against forced assimilation and the destruction of culture (Article 8).
- It would ensure that Indigenous peoples cannot be forcibly removed from their lands or territories (Article 10).
- It would enable the creation of Indigenous decision-making institutions and require that they be consulted and cooperated with in good-faith. (Articles 18 & 19).
- It would address the nature of land on this continent by ensuring that the government addresses our right to access, use and control of our traditional lands and recognition of this in a culturally appropriate manner (Article 26).
At the moment our governments claim that they act in good faith, but do so on the basis that their gestures are acts of charity rather than legal requirements to ensure that Indigenous rights are not impeded.
This creates an unacceptable presentation of the relationship between Indigenous non-Indigenous peoples as being one where Indigenous peoples should be grateful for whatever non-Indigenous people decide for us, and denies our rights to control our own destinies.
In order to reset this, Australia needs to promote and discuss all 46 Articles in the UNDRIP to give legal effect to them to ensure that all Australians are brought on a journey which can begin to reshape Australia’s national identity towards one that truly honours and protects the rights and responsibilities of First Peoples to Australia’s lands and waters and to all those who live within them.
So we call on Australia to ratify UNDRIP into Australian law with full legal effect. We urge you to join this call to action and support our upcoming campaign.
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