SNAICC made a submission to the Attorney General’s Department on its Draft National Human Rights Action Plan this week.
SNAICC strongly supports the need for a comprehensive plan, that reflects current realities accurately, and contains focused strategies and actions that redress the causes of persistent human rights violations, and assigns clear responsibility for action and a framework for measuring progress. SNAICC is concerned that the current draft plan simply lists a number of initiatives already in place. The serious implication of having no ‘action’ contained within the Human Rights Action Plan is that it ends up being merely rhetoric about the importance of rights without any substantive commitment to achieving human rights.
In its Submission, SNAICC argues for concrete and practical measures that would provide better protection and support for the realisation of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and children in particular, focusing on areas of most need. While SNAICC makes recommendations across diverse human rights issues that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a few of the key recommendations made include:
- Revise the Government’s Stronger Futures package for the Northern Territory to develop a strategy consistent with Australia’s human rights obligations to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern territory;
- Develop a national strategy as a matter of urgency for the full implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, consistent with recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
- Create a National Children’s Commissioner, with a Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner, to advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
- Facilitate the development of a National Partnership Agreement in relation to progressing the Closing the Gap plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families in the context of the National Framework for the Protection of Australia’s Children 2009 – 2020.
- Ensure choice for families between adequate, accessible, available and adaptable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and mainstream services.
- Conduct a thorough review of all relevant policies to ensure culturally appropriate service development and delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
- Ensure the availability of quality, well supported, and well funded bilingual and Both-ways education as an option for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander families and children throughout Australia through adequate resourcing, infrastructure and programmes.
Manager Policy and Research