2010 Media Release: New online network launched to protect Indigenous human rights

Date: 
Monday 12 April 2010

Diplomacy Training ProgramProudly supported by Oxfam

A new website being launched today will bring together human rights advocates in an online network to share advice and best practice, and provide a one-stop-shop for information on international human rights treaties relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and member of the Steering Committee which has been overseeing development of the network, said the Indigenous Human Rights Network Australia (IHRNA) was a much-needed resource for Australians who advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ human rights.

“IHRNA fills a void for those people in the community who are working away persistently, and often on their own, to ensure that the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are given the prominence they deserve in the development of laws, programs and policies in Australia,” Commissioner Gooda said.

“Now, with the touch of a keyboard, network members will be able to contact experts for advice or make connections with mentors and other human rights advocates to share information and best practice approaches to protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ human rights.

“We’ve just had the first anniversary of the federal government’s formal support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and I can’t think of a better way to help people bring the Declaration alive and give it real application, than by enabling them to jump on a website and get the information they need to put the Declaration into practice.”

Hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, funded by Oxfam Australia and supported by the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) at the University of New South Wales, IHRNA developed out of research undertaken in 2007 which revealed support for the establishment of a network that would allow human rights advocates access to information to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ participation and engagement in human rights processes.

Oxfam Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program Manager Karina Menkhorst, said IHRNA was very important in its potential to promote the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

“We are excited to see this network come to life, and hope it will be a key tool that Indigenous advocates can use to stay connected with each other to better advocate on issues in their communities,” Ms Menkhorst said.

Patrick Earle, Executive Director of the Diplomacy Training Program believes IHRNA will help bring people together, and help ensure that the voices for human rights and recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights will be heard.

“This new network is a practical step to help and encourage people to work together to hold governments across Australia accountable to their promises and to promote shared values of human dignity,” Mr Earle said.

Information on IHRNA and the Steering Committee members can be found on the IHRNA website at www.ihrna.info to find out more or watch www.youtube.com/user/ihrna

Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597