November 2004 Volume 6, Issue 7

This issue of the ILB was undertaken to highlight the close of the United Nations International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (‘the Decade’), which ends on Human Rights Day (10 December) this year; a prime opportunity to reflect on the progress (or otherwise) of issues relating to Indigenous peoples. The articles were chosen to draw attention to the status of Indigenous peoples in Australia, and to examine the international standards and institutions that aim to protect the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

In this issue, Craig Jones, of the Native Title Studies Centre at James Cook University, provides some background with a discussion of the goals of the Decade. John Scott and DJ Ahkee, with considerable experience with Indigenous issues in the international arena, address the dialogue regarding Free, Prior and Informed Consent being undertaken at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. Also at the international level, Greg Marks, a researcher and consultant in international law, Indigenous rights and native title, discusses the recent criticism of Australia at the CERD Committee in relation to Indigenous policy and native title.

Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Professor Mick Dodson, provides his perspective on the evolution of Indigenous policy in Australia over the past ten years, and his role in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. Harry Blagg and Neil Morgan, of the WA Law Reform Commission, review their customary law project that seeks to identify ways of returning authority to Aboriginal law.

Dr Tamara Mackean and Dr Marshall Watson, both active in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health issues, highlight the appalling standards of health and life expectancy that are present in today’s Indigenous communities, and the violation of human rights that this represents. Finally, Garth Nettheim, an Indigenous legal rights academic for many years, relates these issues of Indigenous rights and policy in Australia to the recent Federal election and seeks to identify ways forward for the next decade.

Special Focus Edition: Human Rights

The International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People
by Craig Jones

Recent Developments in the Recognition of the Right of Self-Determination for Indigenous Peoples
by Tom Calma

The Concept of Free, Prior and Informed Consent: From Global to Local
by John Scott and Darryl John (DJ) Ahkee

Australia, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Indigenous Rights
by Greg Marks

Interview with Professor Mick Dodson
interview by Craig Jones

Aboriginal Land in Western Australia
by Harry Blagg and Neil Morgan

Indigenous Sovereignty and Indigenous Health
by Dr Tamara Mackean and Dr Marshall Watson

Looking Back: Visions or Rear Visions
by Garth Nettheim


News, Reviews and Research
Recent Happenings November 2004

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