Amnesty report emphasises need for homelands investment

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Amnesty International’s State of the World's Human Rights report underlines the detrimental impact of the NT Intervention on homelands and the long term health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Australian Greens said today.

“It is little surprise that Amnesty, like other international organisations, has found continued violations of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Homelands require increased funding over a long period of time to help those people living on their traditional lands, where they can retain links to culture and heritage.

“Assisting people to remain on country has proven to be very important for improving a range of social, health and wellbeing outcomes. Despite this the funding offered for homelands remains disproportionate to that which encourages people to move into lager towns and communities.

“Funding for homelands and other essential services across the NT should not be linked to discriminatory legislation such as Stronger Futures.

“The approach taken by Stronger Futures is completely contrary to that which has been recommended by experts and communities themselves. There is a strong body of opinion in favour of supporting services and programs based on collaboration and community involvement and partnership.

“Such measures provide communities with the ability and opportunity to control and improve their social and economic conditions – elements that are a key component of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which Australia has endorsed but continually fails to deliver on.

“I am staggered the Government and Coalition can continue to support the expansion of the NT Intervention through Stronger Futures legislation despite the clear evidence against this approach. Evidence is growing, but none of the older parties are paying attention.

“Stronger Futures is due to be debated in the Senate in June and I strongly urge MPs throughout the Parliament to reconsider their support for this legislation,” Senator Siewert concluded.