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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Aborigine threat to sports event
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

Sydney suburb of Redfern - archive picture
Aborigine communities are plagued with social problems
Australian Aborigines have threatened to disrupt next year's Commonwealth Games unless Prime Minister John Howard is charged with genocide.

Indigenous elders have lodged a writ in the High Court calling for the federal government to be investigated for crimes against native Australians.

Aboriginal groups have said they will target the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne as part of their campaign.

They are also calling on other nations to consider boycotting the event.

Campaigners complain that Australia's conservative government has not only failed to address the suffering of the indigenous population, but has done so on purpose.

They want to bring Mr Howard, as well as the federal attorney general and the police commissioner, to account.

Aboriginal leaders have alleged that, in recent years, there has been a deliberate and systematic destruction of native people.

Aborigines suffer disproportionately high rates of early death, imprisonment and unemployment.

Poverty has caused many communities to self-destruct through the abuse of drugs and alcohol, as well as petrol-sniffing.

But the government says spending on indigenous healthcare is at record levels, and there are more black students entering further education.

Senior ministers have insisted that aboriginal issues are a priority.


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