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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 00:23 GMT 01:23 UK
Voices against racism: Australia's Aborigines
Aborigines in chains
Aborigines want compensation for past injustices
By the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Durban

Amid the diplomatic posturing and the haggling over language at the World Conference against Racism it is easy to lose sight of the reality of racism.

Each day during the meeting in South Africa some of those who have suffered discrimination have been telling their personal stories.

Among them is Monica Morgan, from the Aboriginal Yorta Yorta people of south-eastern Australia.

There were 20,000 Yorta Yorta people in that region before the British - what Monica Morgan calls the "first boat people" - came in 1788.

By the end of the 19th century, fewer than 100 were left.

Trauma

Now their population has recovered to 4,000, but she told the conference how the survivors had been traumatised by the collective effects of two centuries of racism.

Monica Morgan
Monica Morgan: Aborigines were "brainwashed" and "violated"
Her own generation has been marked by the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, the so-called "stolen generation".

Some 100,000 children were taken from Aboriginal families throughout Australia - including Monica Morgan's own family.

She described the impact on her family.

Monica's story

"The removal of children from their families affects every member of the indigenous community in Australia today.

"Every one of our families has been directly involved, or has people who have returned home after being removed.

"In my own family, the father of my children was removed from school at 10 years of age. He and seven of his brothers and sisters - five at school, one who was in hospital, two who were in camp with their family members - were removed and placed in a jail cell and transported to places known as detention centres or homes, where they were trained to be domestics, brainwashed to be assimilated, and violated.

"In every one of our communities now we are having our people return to us, broken, feeling rejected, hopeless and without any justice."

Monica Morgan - and the other Aboriginal people of Australia - are calling for an apology and compensation for the years of suffering.

See also:

03 Sep 01 | Africa
Racism summit turmoil: Reactions
29 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Australia slammed over Aborigine rights
24 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aborigines attack welfare culture
25 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Australia rejects UN racism report
26 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
Regret but no apology for aborigines
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