Peace walk for Aboriginal rights

January 17, 2009

Aboriginal activists launched a "peace walk" on January 9 from Sydney to the steps of Parliament House in Canberra in protest against the continuation of the NT intervention and the mining of nuclear materials on Aboriginal land — policies that they label "Rudd's betrayal of Aboriginal people".

"Sovereign Aboriginal people have a right to self determination, to be empowered to make decisions affecting their country and communities. Rudd is continuing Howard's paternalism," said Uncle Dootch Kennedy, from the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy according to Sydney Indymedia on January 9.

"We demand the UN Declaration on Rights for Indigenous Peoples be adopted and implemented as a binding blueprint for Indigenous policy development", he said. The Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor stands on Kennedy's ancestral lands.

The activists are calling for an end to the NT intervention, which began under the previous Howard government and placed many Aboriginal people living there under a "welfare quarantine" system.

They are also condemning Australia's role in the nuclear-fuel cycle and the failure of the Rudd Labor government to endorse the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights — a promise that the ALP had made in the lead-up to the last federal election.

"Aboriginal Australia has been battling for over 200 years. The NT Intervention is the most recent attack on our human rights, our collective rights as Indigenous peoples and our sovereign rights as the true custodians of these lands. If you want to close the gap Rudd, begin at the beginning — recognise Aboriginal sovereignty," said Darren Bloomfield from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Sydney.

"The Federal Government has been hacking away at Aboriginal Land Rights with the NT intervention and now compulsory leases land if Aboriginal communities want to receive basic services. The land grab has to stop."

The walk began at Kurnell, Botany Bay, the first site of white settlement. It will arrive at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy Canberra for Sovereignty Day, January 26.

Supporters from around the country will join those from the peace walk to protest on the opening day of Parliament on February 3.

The mass national convergence will call for an end to the NT intervention and for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs Australia-wide.

For more information about the Aboriginal Peace Walk call Darren 0412 826 043 or Inge 0418 345 686.

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