Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
Article 10 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
The national youth committee of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) has voiced concern over the forced closure of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
“As younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples we ache for our brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles in the communities affected,” the group said in a statement.
“We fear that this is something which will affect First Peoples across the country, as what is happening in Western Australia is rolled out in other states.”
The committee’s statement also noted the continued effects of the historical dispossession of land, languages and cultures.
“Our Elders worked hard to fight for our rights and improve race relations, and we are devastated that their work is being undone. We are concerned about the effects this further dispossession will have on the oldest living culture in the world, and we fear that once again we face becoming refugees in our own country.”
In the Covenanting Statement of 1994, the Uniting Church committed to work with the Congress towards national and state policy changes, and to build relationships which respect the right of our people to self-determination in the church and wider society. The UAICC is urging the Uniting Church community to support the affected communities.
“We ask you to join us as we stand in solidarity with our Western Australian brothers and sisters, supporting them in prayer, love, and hope for a better future.
“We request that you go to rallies, sign petitions, get active on social media, and write to your local politicians.”
For more information on the UAICC’s statement on the threat to close communities in Western Australia visit http://uaicc.org.au/threat-to-close-communities-in-western-australia/.