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Government sidelines Indigenous Rights in climate negotiations

The Australian Greens today deplored the Australian Government's approach to Indigenous rights during climate change negotiations this week.

"Mr Rudd should be explaining to the Australian people how on one hand he has made an election promise to endorse the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, whilst on the other hand acting to cut out any practical application of those rights in the negotiations currently underway at the UN Climate Conference in Poznan," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand opposed the inclusion of recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in a decision on REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Whilst aiming to include REDD in the future climate agreement, the Australian Government opposed protecting the rights of those Indigenous peoples who will be directly affected by REDD measures.

"This is completely unacceptable behaviour from a Government that only this year delivered a moving apology to the Stolen Generations. We are talking about forests that have been sustainably managed by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. This move will see their rights trampled on in the fight against climate change."

"This Government's action at the Climate Conference has just repeated the Howard agenda."

"This is yet another in the list of ALP broken election promises - we are still waiting for Australian ratification of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. The Rudd Government needs to stand up and show recognition for the work of Indigenous peoples, particularly in environmental management," she concluded.

Senator Siewert also congratulated Indigenous Rights advocate Les Malezer on his receipt of the 2008 Human Rights Medal, pointing to his valuable work on the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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