Native title is a property right which reflects a relationship to land which is the very foundation of Indigenous religion, culture and well-being. The non-discriminatory protection of native title is a recognised human right.
Under the Native Title Act 1993, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner is required to:
- prepare an annual report to the Attorney-General on the operation of the NTA and its effect on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
- report, when requested by the Attorney-General, on any other matter relating to the rights of Indigenous people under the NTA.
The objectives of the Commissioner are to provide and promote a human rights perspective on native title; assist in developing more efficient native title processes; and to advocate for the co-existence between Indigenous and non-Indigenous interests in land based on compatible land use.
The Australian Government, along with many other nations, have acknowledged the importance of promoting and protecting human rights standards by ratifying international instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
These instruments are relevant to native title because they protect property against arbitrary and discriminatory interference and acknowledge rights to freedom of religion and culture. It is the expectation of the international community that Australia will comply with these standards in its treatment of the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Within this section you can access:
- What's New: Recent Work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
- Native Title Reports 1994 - 2012
- Submissions focussing on Native Title Issues by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
- Corporate Responsibility: Developing Human Rights Principles for resource development on Aboriginal Land
- International Review of Indigenous issues in 2000: Australia