Qld Aborigines take fight to UN

Wednesday, August 7, 1991

Qld Aborigines take fight to UN

By Philippa Stanford

BRISBANE — In protest against the Goss government's land rights legislation, a group of Aboriginal community leaders have organised a trip to the United Nations on behalf of the Queensland Aboriginal people.

The legislation really only guarantees land rights for big companies. It ignores the rights of non-reserve Aborigines, who constitute 95% of the Aboriginal population, and does nothing to challenge institutionalised racism.

According to Bob Weatherall, of the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action, "What the legislation says is that Aboriginal cultural heritage and cultural property is the property of the Queen. We've never ceded our sovereign ownership of our cultural heritage ... it's a case of cultural genocide."

Weatherall said the state government had breached international law in three areas — the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, the international covenant on civil and political rights, and the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

Weatherall said the trip will make it "appear to the rest of the world that the government, and the rest of the public, are not prepared to deliver Aboriginal entitlements, basic human rights and fundamental freedoms."

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