Australia silent on UN racism committee condemnation
Monday, March 28, 2005
The Australian government has been keeping quiet about a UN committee's repeated criticism of its record on race issues. A report issued over two weeks ago by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has not received comment from the government in the media, and domestic media coverage has been scant, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, and confirmed by a search of news search engine news.google.com.
According to Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) National Director David Cooper before the case was heard by the UN committee, "We fully expect the government is going to deflect it by criticising the UN process."
In fact, this criticism was given in the session, and nothing has been heard from the Australian Federal Government since, on the committee hearing and report.
After reciting a list of Australian anti-racism initiatives, ambassador to the UN Mike Smith, described the 18 committee members' work in the previous session five years ago as "cursory" and "unreasonable". He said they had largely ignored progress being made in Australia, yet displayed "an unquestioning acceptance" of critics of the Government.
Regis de Gouttes of France called Mr Smith "exceptionally rude".
Jose Lindgren Alves of Brazil told him, "As a veteran diplomat, this statement, with its language describing programs and attacks on NGOs, reminds me of the sort of statement from communist bloc countries and Latin American dictatorships that Australia used to condemn."
The committee was positive about a number of improvements in race-related issues in Australia over the five years since its last report. These were,
However the report contained a large number of serious criticisms, and a reminder that the Convention prohibits direct as well as indirect discrimination. Australia was asked to report back on progress on a number of items within one year.
The criticisms were,
- David Marr. "Geneva v Canberra" — , March 28, 2005
- Bob Burton. "AUSTRALIA: Quick Refugee Fix In a 'No Hope Visa'?" — , March 24, 2005
- Larry Schwartz. "Australian race record questioned" — , March 22, 2005
- Larry Schwartz. "Damning UN verdict on race relations" — , March 22, 2005
- Australian Associated Press (AAP). "UN group concerned about ATSIC demise - rights body" — , March 21, 2005
- Howard Glenn. "The delicate diplomacy of being 'nice' human rights violators" — , March 21, 2005
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation / Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR). "UN Concerned about Racism in Australia" — , March 18, 2005
- ? Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Sixty-sixth session ?. "Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Concludes Sixty-sixth session" — , ? March 12, 2005 ?
- Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Sixty-sixth session. "Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Australia" — , March 12, 2005
- Australian Associated Press (AAP). "Govt will ignore UN predicts ANTaR" — , March 3, 2005
- Rights Australia. "Media Release: Australian Non-governmental Organisations' Submission to CERD" — , March 3, 2005