Australia: Apology essential first step in addressing legacy of indigenous human rights abuse

Amnesty International today welcomed the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the members of the “Stolen Generation” of indigenous Australians and their families.

Amnesty International Australia Campaign Coordinator Rodney Dillon said:

“We are greatly encouraged by the Australian government’s decision to make a formal apology one of its first priorities.

“We hope this gesture will be a symbolic end to the tragic legacy of horrific treatment of Aboriginal Children's rights, and the first step towards addressing the serious human rights violations indigenous Australians face every day.

“An apology will help develop respect and establish meaningful relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and is essential to reconciliation.

“We are calling on the Australian government to now implement the recommendations in the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report. Restitution, rehabilitation, guarantees against repetition, and compensation are critical next steps.”

Background:
· The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s report outlined 54 recommendations in the 1997 ‘Bringing Them Home’ report, as a result of its inquiry into the removal of Indigenous Children's rights from their families. It found between one in 10 and three in 10 Aboriginal and Torrres Strait Islander Children's rights were forcibly removed from between 1910 and 1970, and many were sexually, physically and mentally abused.
· The report’s recommendations are supported by international law which provides that where a person’s human rights have been violated, they must have access to an “effective remedy” (Article 2(3) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

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