UN hears Australian commitment to Indigenous rights

Date: 
Friday 24 May 2013
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The Australian Human Rights Commission, the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, and the Federal Government have presented a historic joint statement to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

A Federal Government representative, Mandy Doherty, and a Commission representative, Jenny Bedford, delivered the joint statement to the United Nations in New York this week.

The joint statement confirmed Australia's support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and committed the Federal Government to giving "practical effect" to the Declaration's goals.

"The Australian Government and Indigenous Australians have seen Australia’s support for the Declaration as another opportunity to rebuild our relationship in a spirit of cooperation, based on good faith, goodwill and mutual respect," Ms Doherty and Ms Bedford said in their joint statement.

 "The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples asks all stakeholders to find new ways of working to translate the rights set out in the Declaration into concrete benefits for all Indigenous peoples, including Indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

"The Australian Government is committed to assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve improved outcomes. 

"Australia’s journey towards reconciliation is continuing. We will continue to work to promote the human rights and human dignity of Indigenous peoples domestically and internationally. 

"Giving practical effect to the Declaration provides us all with an opportunity to engage positively and more effectively to improve the future for the First Peoples of Australia. 

"The Australian Government is fully committed to this outcome," Ms Doherty and Ms Bedford said.

Read a transcript of the joint statement.