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Intervention protesters condemn UN Declaration hypocrisy

30/3/09 for immediate release


Intervention protesters condemn UN Declaration hypocrisy

The Stop the Intervention Collective in Sydney (STICS) will hold a protest today at 1pm at the offices of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd demanding an end to the NT Intervention and the current pressure on remote communities across Australia to sign long term land leases in exchange for housing.

STICS have described the Rudd government as hypocritical, following the recent announcement that Australia will endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The group says the Intervention and proposed leasing arrangements severely contravene the declaration.

Valerie Martin, a spokesperson for the Yuendumu community, will address the protest.

Yuendumu are refusing to sign the current 40-80 year leases being pushed by government. The community has been told that no new housing will be built until they sign the leases.

"Why can't they help us out with money for our housing and services? Why do they need to take over our land? Where they are going is really bad. It's not on. Since they took the 5-year leases with the Intervention, they have done nothing." said Ms Martin.

"Our lives, each one of us living at Yuendumu, depends on our land. It is connected to our songlines, our culture and our dreaming. You can't come and bribe us and blackmail us, telling us what to do. This is our land. We will not sign".

"Jenny Macklin's recent announcement that Australia will support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is rank hypocrisy while they continue with the NT Intervention", said Paddy Gibson from the Stop the Intervention Collective.

"The minister has already been quick to say that the Rudd government will not be bound by the UN declaration. It is a hollow gesture designed to distract from harsh attacks on Aboriginal rights and living conditions currently being extended around the country".

"In the face of an Indigenous housing crisis, plans for housing are only being made for a paltry 26 of the thousands of remote communities across Australia. Land rights are central to the UN declaration, yet this housing is being made conditional on communities surrendering their control to the government".

"We are protesting at Kevin's Rudd's office today to demand this racism end immediately. It is having a disastrous impact. Recent statistics from the Sunrise Health Service in Katherine show that anaemia rates among children have jumped from 20% to 55% during the 18 month period of the Intervention", concluded Mr. Gibson.

Protest begins 1pm Monday March 30 - 70 Phillip St Sydney

Valerie Martin 0448507201
Paddy Gibson 0415800586