Amnesty replies

Amnesty International Australia, through their Campaigns Director, Andrew Beswick, has made the following brief statement in response to KIERAN FINNANE’s analysis of their report, The Lands Hold Us. The report criticises changes in government policy, particularly since the NT Intervention, that have affected Aboriginal homelands and outstations, especially in the Utopia area.

Says Mr Beswick:-

As a human rights organisation, our role is to point out where government policies fall short of the international human rights standards they have committed to uphold.  Unsurprisingly then, we are looking at the future of the more than 500 homeland and other smaller Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, through that lens.

Governments are the ones that are predominantly responsible for making sure our human rights are fulfilled.  And it is this notion of accountability, along with these international standards, that inform our recommendations for government action in our report ‘The land holds us’: Aboriginal peoples’ right to traditional homelands in the Northern Territory.

Rather than the “victim status” we have been accused of assigning to Aboriginal peoples, we advocate strongly for the right to free, prior and informed consent to be respected and provide a platform for the powerful voices of those directly affected by these government policies in our campaign.

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