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UN racism hearing an election embarrassment for Gillard government

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 10 Aug 2010

The Australian Government is appearing before the United Nations today to explain its failure to protect and promote the human right to equality and freedom from racial discrimination.

"Quite frankly this is a big embarrassment for the Gillard government, which is being called to account by the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination for its backwards steps on the rights and well-being of Indigenous Australians and asylum seekers," said Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal issues today.

"With both Labor and the Liberals locked in a race to the bottom on asylum seekers and on extending the punitive top-down approach of the Northern Territory intervention, it is nice to have a bit of a wake up call from the UN."

"This is a clear reminder that today's populist election politics from the two major parties is out of step with the values and concerns of the world community," said Senator Siewert.

"In this election only The Greens are standing up for human rights - for fair treatment and the recognition of the right to seek asylum, and for dignity and right to self determination of Australia's first nations."

"It is hypocritical of Minister Jenny Macklin to be raising the possibility of constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians again in this election - after the Rudd government failed to act on its promise to pursue this issue at the last election and after the manner she has eroded the rights of Aboriginal communities in the intervening three years," she concluded.

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