Oct 19 – International Women’s Day of Action

Oct 19 – International Women’s Day of Action

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John Ahni Schertow
September 14, 2007
 

Following the return of Women for Wik, a group of prominent Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian women, an International Women’s Day of Action has been planned for Friday, October 19th to protest against the Australian Government’s action in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

Women for Wik, originally formed in 1997 to combat the Howard Government’s attempts to extinguish native title, is calling on Australian women around the world to organise similar events on October 19.

(There are several other National and International events in the works aswell. )

Worldwide Women’s Protest Against Federal Action In The Northern Territory
An international women’s day of action is planned for Friday, October 19 to protest against the Australian Government’s action in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

Women for Wik, a grassroots organisation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, has attracted more than 1500 signatures on its website and at least one international sister group since going public on this issue two weeks ago.

A group of women from Australia, Scotland and France, organised a protest at the Australian Consulate in Edinburgh on September 13.

Organiser Kate Worland, said, ‘It is vital to raise awareness all over the world about what is going on right now in Australia. We need to stop the implementation of this draconian legislation any way we can.’

Women for Wik, originally formed in 1997 to combat the Howard Government’s attempts to extinguish native title, is calling on Australian women around the world will organise similar events on October 19. Action kits are available through the Women for Wik website, www.womenforwik.org.

Australian organiser, Associate Professor Claire Smith, says “We live in an interconnected world. Once we started providing access to information about the impact of this Federal action on Aboriginal community people, it was inevitable that this movement would garner international support.”

‘It is ironic that this occurred on the same day that the UN Declaration of Rights for Indigenous peoples passed. This shows how far Australia is out of step with the rest of the world’, says Associate Professor Smith.

Professor Lynn Meskell of Stanford University says: “It is not enough that the Prime Minister has Australians involved in a war abroad that is not our own, we have begun persecuting and dominating our own people at home.”

Professor Meskell continues: “Like one million other Australian citizens, I live overseas. This does not mean that I do not notice, or care about, what happens in Australia.’

Legislation allowing the Australian government’s action in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities passed the Senate in August. The government seized control of around 70 Aboriginal towncamps and community centres. This has been done without consultation with Aboriginal organisations.

The Government acted in response to the Little Child Are Sacred report that reported widespread child abuse in NT Aboriginal communities. But even the authors of the report say the feel they betrayed by the Government’s response to this report.

Federal actions include alcohol and pornography controls and controversial changes to the permit system for access to Indigenous land. Many opponents, including Women for Wik, object to the way the child-abuse issue has been linked to land rights.

“This wouldn’t be accepted by any other section of the Australian society,” says Olga Havnen, Indigenous leader and CEO of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory. “If they tried to implement this against women, or Jews, or gays, the country would be in an uproar. Why do we accept it for Aboriginal people?”

For further information and contacts please see here. Aswell, for news about “the intervention” visit this page.

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