BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Claire Doole reports
"Criticism of its human rights record has angered the Australian Government"
 real 28k

Friday, 21 July, 2000, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Australia attacked over Aborigine treatment
Man
The UN says Australia must redress years of injustice
By Claire Doole in Geneva

Australia has come under attack for its treatment of Aborigines at a UN Human Rights Committee.

The committee, which is due to publish its official recommendations next week, expressed concern at the marginalisation and discrimination of Aborigines in Australian society.

It was particularly critical of mandatory jail terms for certain offences in parts of Australia, as well as the past policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families.

The UN statement comes at an embarrassing time for Australia, two months before the opening of the Sydney Olympics.

Woman
Aborigines have far lower life expectancy than others in Australia
During its cross-examination, the Australian delegation admitted the government still had a lot of work to do to improve their plight.

The committee heard Aborigines are many more times likely to be arrested, detained and imprisoned than the rest of the population.

It expressed concern that, in two states, the policy of mandatory sentencing for burglary and property offences disproportionately discriminated against Aborigines who were more likely to commit such crimes, a charge the government denied.

It was also severely criticised for the policy in force until the late 1960s of removing Aboriginal children from their families.

This, it said, was a black mark on Australia's human rights record, which successive governments had failed to sufficiently address.

Committee members also berated Australia for not incorporating the UN covenant on civil and political rights into its national law. But the Australian delegation showed little enthusiasm.

Still smarting from UN criticism earlier in the year about racially discriminated against Aborigines, the Conservative Government is reviewing its co-operation with the UN Human Rights Committee system.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

28 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Symbolic march unites Australia
02 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aborigines target Olympics
25 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Australia rejects UN racism report
28 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Reconciliation deadline dropped
10 Aug 99 | Asia-Pacific
Lost childhood of the 'stolen generation'
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories