Social Justice Commissioner calls for recognition of traditional nations

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, today released the 2014 Social Justice & Native Title Report. Published annually, the report covers the enjoyment and exercise of human rights by Indigenous peoples and the operation of the Native Title Act and its effect on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Report calls for recognition of the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations and for those Nations to form the basis of self-governance frameworks. The Report says:

This year I would like to shift our focus to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations

The existence of nations in Australia is undisputed. There have been various names given to these collectives over time: peoples, tribes, clans, language groups, nations and mobs. For the purposes of this chapter, I will use the term ‘Nations’ as a representative title for all of these groups.

The concept of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations is important to the identity, survival and self-determination of our peoples. ‘Nation building’ – that is, enhancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ capacities for self-governance and self-determined economic development – is fundamental to this process. New research presented in this chapter shows that where local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Nations, communities, authorities and organisations have power and control over decision making and resources, real change is achieved in a more sustainable way. Change achieved by this style of governance, in line with the aims and values of our peoples, is a true reflection of self-determination. Similarly, Nation building guided by the [United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples], in my view, will lead to the realisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, stronger communities and more meaningful engagement.”

The full report is available here: Social Justice and Native Title Report 2014

 

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