Date: 
Wednesday 7 August 2013

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, celebrated this Friday 9 August, highlights the importance of building strong relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, says Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda.

The theme for this year’s celebration is Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

“This Friday's International Day reminds us of the need continue to work towards realising Indigenous peoples’ human rights,” Mr Gooda said.

“The theme for this year’s International Day also highlights the importance of building strong relationships between governments and Indigenous communities, and within Indigenous communities themselves.”

Mr Gooda said that although no treaty has been entered into between the Federal Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a powerful framework for agreements between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Australia’s support for the Declaration affirms some important and basic principles.

“One of the most important principles is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are actively involved in the decision-making that affects them.

“To be effective, policies and programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be developed as an agreement, a shared pact, between government and the people directly affected,” Mr Gooda said.

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples will mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by webcasting a panel discussion about alliances, treaties and agreements.

National Congress co-chair, Les Malezer, will moderate the event, which starts at noon on Friday. Panellists are Tom Calma, Nicole Watson, Brian Wyatt and Mary Graham.