UN rights experts welcome Australia's apology to indigenous peoples

18 February 2008

A group of independent United Nations human rights experts have welcomed Australia's recent apology to its indigenous peoples for the pain and indignity they endured under the Government's past laws and policies.

The apology, made in a speech delivered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Federal Parliament on 13 February, “will strengthen the moral fabric of the country and reinforce the Aboriginal contribution to Australian society,” the experts said in a statement issued today in Geneva.

“We are specially moved by the apology offered to the members of the Stolen Generation and their families, victims of a deliberate policy of assimilation of the Aboriginal culture that contradicted the basic human rights principles of equality and dignity,” the group added.

“Australia's efforts to acknowledge historical injustices and to promote reconciliation set an example of how to enhance harmonious and cooperative relationships between indigenous peoples and States, in the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

In carrying out measures to protect and promote the rights of Aboriginal peoples, the experts encouraged the Government to examine the recommendations made by several Special Rapporteurs who visited the country in recent years.


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