March 30, 2011

Intervention petition

I've been reminiscing lately and had a read through some of my blog posts from years back when I would post really regularly. (Okay, not so much reminiscing as procrastinating from study, perhaps). The blog posts that got the biggest responses were about the first community meetings after the Intervention was announced (see here and here). I still regard the Intervention as one of the nails in the coffin that caused me to burnout and leave Ngukurr after three years of successful work. It was so demoralising to have something so huge dumped on you from 'above'. And I wasn't even an Aboriginal resident!

The issue of the Intervention is ongoing. Many feel it is contributing to town-drift which is in turn leading to worsening homelessness, crappier housing situations, increased crime etc. The NT Government's silly 'Growth Towns' policy and neglect of outstations/small communities is also to blame, in my opinion. Oh, and check out Ngukurr mob talking about how they were duped into thinking the Intervention would drastically improve the housing situation at Ngukurr when they signed over a township lease to the government. This excellent piece aired on NT Stateline in Nov 2010.

Ok, to get to the petition mentioned in the post title, the UN's High Commissioner for Racial Discrimination, Navi Pillay, is visiting Australia in May. A mob have put up an online petition that you can look at here:

The wording goes:

To: UN Human Rights Commissioner

Dear Navi Pillay,

Welcome to Australia.

We are calling on you to encourage Government to end the Northern Territory Intervention and to restore the rights of Aboriginal people. The people were not consulted before the Intervention nor have they given their consent to it.

Control over land and communities must be returned to Aboriginal people. Changes to the law are urgently needed to restore and protect the rights of Aboriginal peoples in the NT to determine their own futures. We ask you for your assistance.

I'm not sure how useful petitions like these are, but hey, can't hurt to try.

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