Saturday, August 29, 2009

Both sides of Australian politics shoot the UN messenger on NT intervention

This blog labeled the NT intervention as racist from the outset. This was not to diminish the alarming facts of child abuse and social dysfunction but to question whether human rights were violated through the response. I won't repeat my earlier critique, but I'm sure it stands the test of time.

Kristen Gelineau, writing for Assoc Press, examines the current Govt's reaction to James Anaya, the U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, who said Thursday that his 12-day fact-finding tour of Australia revealed that Aborigines still suffer from "entrenched racism." He expressed particular concern about the intervention.

I refuse to believe that programs developed in close consultation with the key interest groups, which empower their capacity to help themselves, could not be implemented effectively without violating people's human rights. For Brough and Abott to climb on their high horses over UN interventions on human rights is despicable, as these politicians were members of a government that routinely trashed human rights in pursuance of their narrow reactionary agenda. They did little to address the human rights of women & children in remote communities for the lion's share of their period in office. What hypocrites! It took an alarm beacon to be set off in their faces for them to respond, and they did it with all the subtlety of an invading force, resplendent with military might! I can't get the abiding suspicion out of my mind that Howard sought to play low politics with the intervention - it must be something to do with 'children overboard' and the Pacific Solution that leaves me a little incredulous.

Woolly Days has a take on the defensive posture of Australian pollies and the media club.

And yet another take can be found at Public Opinion.

Surprise, surprise, Howard has again come out against a Charter or Bill of Human Rights. Howard et al don't like the idea that politician's laws are subject to universal notions of human rights. The preeminence of the parliament over the rights of its citizens seems to be at the heart of the argument. In other words, executive government should always be able to legislate at will, without consideration of whether or not laws passed undermine human rights. It is an interesting notion, somewhat reminiscent of past authoritarian regimes of the extreme left and right, who would not brook interference with their law making on the grounds of human rights.

Hmmm, what do you think about a group of politicians and their cheer squads that resist the notion that human rights should govern the laws that bind us all?

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