Amnesty International has slammed Australia’s human rights record as one that is fast deteriorating. Amnesty’s annual State of the World’s Human Rights report took aim at Australia’s neglect of Aboriginal peoples and its maltreatment of Asylum Seekers.
Only three decades ago Australia was being held in high record on human rights score cards around the world for apparent advancements in its conduct towards Aboriginal peoples and refugees. But ironically since Eddie Mabo and Native Title and the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody (RCIADC) the unfolding social justice calls have stagnated and in many instances unravelled and gone backwards – with the Native Title Act watered down to such an extent it cannot much assist in the rise out of intergenerational impoverishment the 100,000 Aboriginal peoples still waiting. Around the same time, in 1992 the then Keating Government also introduced Mandatory Detention legislation for Asylum Seekers – and which has deteriorated to indefinite detention.
In the last twenty years, the Native Title Act and the processes around it have been fiddled with to the point that the pastoralists, developers, miners rule the roost while Aboriginal Native Title holders are steamrolled. Third-world conditions for more than 100,000 Aboriginal peoples continue, and in many instances are getting worse. The third-world conditions are not limited to the Northern Territory. Aboriginal youth suicide has reached world-record levels, and incarceration rates of Aboriginal peoples is now an indictment of Australian Governments.
The suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act so as to enable the “Emergency Response” (The Intervention) into the NT is considered one of Australia’s worst black marks on its contemporary human rights score card.
The en masse detention of Asylum Seekers including children and babies in prison-like conditions is a sore point with human rights organisations.
Amnesty Australia national director Claire Mallinson said the Australian Government is one of several around the world that is more interested in using refugees as a political football – “point-scoring.”
“The appalling treatment of Asylum Seekers, the majority of whom have fled conflict or post-conflict emergencies in Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq, now find themselves languishing in limbo in remote islands living out-of-sight out-of-mind nightmares that the current Government has introduced, re-enacting the devastating policies of the past,” said Ms Mallinson.
The State of the World report slammed Australia’s high incarceration rates of Aboriginal peoples. It criticised the rising Aboriginal prison population, which has risen from one in seven prisoners being Aboriginal twenty years ago to more than one in four prisoners being Aboriginal. The report found that Australia is failing to deliver “rights for all.”