Date: 
Friday 18 June 2010

Race Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, said today that equal opportunity and social inclusion are difficult for a great many African Australians in this country because they experience widespread direct and indirect racism as part of their daily lives.

“African Australians come from many countries in Africa and a great variety of cultures, religions, language groups and circumstances,” Commissioner Innes said. “The discrimination these people face, which is sometimes inadvertent, takes place across the gamut of life’s experiences, from employment to housing, education, health services and their connection with the justice system.”

Commissioner Innes was speaking in Melbourne today at the launch of the Australian Human Right’s Commission’s In our own wordsAfrican Australians: A review of human rights and social inclusion issues, which documents the result of three years of consultation with African Australian communities around the country.

He was joined by Mr Andrew Demetriou, CEO of the AFL, Mr Lindsay Tanner, Federal Member for Melbourne and representatives from our African Australian communities.

“This project not only represents the first time that human rights and social inclusion issues for African Australians have been recorded at the national level, it is also the first time that everyday experiences are being told from the viewpoint of African Australians themselves, in a human rights context,” said Commissioner Innes.

In our own words presents issues, solutions and best practice initiatives, identified by African Australians throughout these consultations, as well as observations and suggestions from other government and non-government stakeholders.

In our words has established a solid evidence base which can be used as a reference when addressing the issues of discrimination and social inclusion that African Australian people encounter,” said Commissioner Innes. “This information, including the records of best practice, is critical in ensuring that the human rights of everyone in our community are protected and that everyone is treated equally.”

In our words – African Australians: A review of human rights and social inclusion issues is available online at the Australian Human Rights Commission website at: www.humanrights.gov.au/africanaus/

Media contacts: Brinsley Marlay – 02 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529