UN slams lack of Gap progress
The United Nations says Australia has made “woefully inadequate” progress on Closing the Gap.
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has released a report detailing her concerns on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Despite two decades of economic growth, the social disadvantage of Australia’s Indigenous population remains severe.
Ms Tauli-Corpuz said the UN backed the call for a referendum to establish a First Nations advisory body, and urged the Federal Government to establish formal treaties.
“Such measures would carry momentous significance to resetting the relationship with the First Peoples of Australia,” Ms Tauli-Corpuz said.
The report also recommended the Federal Government adopt new targets to reduce violence against women and rates of incarceration and child removal in Indigenous communities.
Ms Tauli-Corpuz said the high rate of detention of young Indigenous children was “the most distressing aspect of her visit” to Australia.
“Detention of those children has become so prevalent in certain communities that some parents referred to it as an achievement that none of their children has been taken into custody so far,” she wrote.
“The extraordinarily high rate of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, including women and children, is a major human rights concern.
“There have been allegations of serious abuses, including violent strip-searches, teargassing, hooding and prolonged isolation committed against Aboriginal children in custody.”
She said the “escalating” rates of incarceration and child removal were fuelled by the failure to improve education, health and employment standards for Indigenous people.
“The current claim by the Government that matters relating to incarceration remain the sole prerogative of states is untenable in the severe,” the report said.
Ms Tauli-Corpuz singled out the Children's Koori Court in Victoria, which connects young offenders with community elders, for praise.
“Such culturally sensitive processes could significantly reduce recidivism rates if extended to other jurisdictions,” she said.