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Aboriginal Rights Supporters Protest on Anniversary of Rudd's Apology

Media Release: Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective - Friday 22 January 2010


Aboriginal Rights Supporters Protest on Anniversary of Rudd's Apology


On Saturday February 13 supporters of Aboriginal rights will mark the second anniversary of Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations by marching from the MAYSAR gym (Melbourne Aboriginal Youth, Sport and Recreation) on Gertrude St, Fitzroy to Parliament House on Spring St, CBD. The protesters will demand an end to the Northern Territory Intervention (also known as the Nothern Territory Emergency Response) which was introduced by the Howard Government almost three years ago. Despite the regime change in Australian federal politics, such racist policies have not only continued under a Rudd Labor government, but have become further entrenched. The policy has been widely criticized by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, James Anaya.

Commenting after his visit in August 2009 to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Anaya said: "I have been inspired by the strength, resilience and vision of Indigenous communities determined to move toward a better future despite having endured tremendous suffering at the hands of historical forces and entrenched racism. It is clear that these historical forces continue to make their presence known today. Of particular concern is the Northern Territory Emergency Response, which by the Government's own account is an extraordinary measure. These measures overtly discriminate against Aboriginal peoples, infringe their right of self-determination and stigmatize already stigmatized communities."

Joe Lorback from Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective had these comments: "Rudd said that 'the injustices of the past must never happen again', but by not only continuing the Intervention but expanding it around Australia that's exactly what is happening. History has shown that if Aboriginal people are prevented from having a voice and have paternalistic policies imposed on them, living conditions will continue to worsen and Aboriginal communities will continue to be marginalised. As long as Aboriginal people are denied the right and the resources to run their own communities and organisations the racism used to justify the colonisation of this country, the taking away of children, the denial of basic human rights and attacks on culture will continue to dominate policy towards Aboriginal people."

Barbara Shaw from Mt. Nancy town camp and the Intervention Rollback Action Group announced: "We will hold a National Day of Action on February 13 2010, the two year anniversary of the Apology, to call for an immediate end to the NT Intervention. We will chant from our hearts, as we always do: 'Self-determination not assimilation. Stop the Intervention, Human rights for all!'"

The Melbourne component of the National Day of Action will begin at 2pm on Saturday 13 February at MAYSAR (Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation) 184-186 Gertrude St, Fitzroy (Melway Ref: 2C C11) and will finish with speeches and live music at Parliament House on Spring St, CBD (Melway Ref: 2F J2).

The protest will be followed by a fundraiser concert 'Liberation Bound' for the Ampilatwatja Walk Off camp at 9pm at Bella Union, Trades Hall, cnr Victoria St and Lygon St, Carlton (Melway Ref: 2B F12).

For comment or more information please contact our media group:
Sharon Firebrace: 0401 414 967
Sue Leigh 0466 480 331
Joe Lorback: 0434 127 661

To see the flyer for the protest: click here

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective.