Resolution on the Australian Government's incursion in to Aboriginal communities

published 25 July 2007 updated 31 March 2017

The 5th World Congress of Education International (EI), meeting in Berlin (Germany) 22 to 26 July 2007,

1. Notes the unprecedented move of the Australian Government, which recently seized control of 64 remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory by deploying the Australian Army, Australian Federal Police and Australian Government administrators to these communities.

2. Expresses concern that this Government has used the serious issue of child abuse in these communities to further malign, stereotype and marginalize Aboriginal people.

3. Acknowledges that child abuse is not a syndrome that is somehow vested in Indigenous culture and, further, understands that non-Indigenous children are also victims of this abuse and non-Indigenous people are also perpetrators of this abuse.

4. Considers it a basic infringement of human rights that the Australian Government has used the serious issue of child abuse to undermine Aboriginal Land Rights laws in the Northern Territory.

5. Condemns the fact that in these communities which have been recently taken over, there are over 5000 Aboriginal children who have no access to secondary and/or primary and/or early childhood education.

6. Urges the Australian Government to establish genuine partnerships with Aboriginal leaders at community, state and national levels to develop long term solutions to address all of the serious issues impacting upon these communities.

7. Calls on the Australian Government to immediately cease its plan to undermine the Land Rights of Aboriginal people in these communities.

8. Calls on the Australian Government to prioritise the training of Indigenous teachers and Indigenous education workers and to provide adequate and appropriate professional support, including appropriate housing.

9. Resolves to make representations to the Australian Government to request that it immediately increase much-needed resources to build education facilities, employ teachers and address serious health issues which impact upon educational opportunities and life chances of Aboriginal people in the targeted communities and in all other communities.

10. Calls on EI affiliates to make representations to their Governments and the Government of Australia to urgently address the issue of under-funding in these communities, particularly in education.

11. Resolves to support solidarity action, where the need arises, and raise awareness of this issue through EI affiliates and broader civil society.