Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

13 February 2008

Australia apologises for abuses of Indigenous

Australia apologises for abuses of Indigenous
Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologised to the Indigenous people who were members of the Stolen Generation and their families on Wednesday in Parliament. The speech, which has been described as a significant event in Australia’s history, was televised live to cities all over Australia.

A spokesperson for Amnesty International said that the organisation is greatly encouraged by the Australian Government’s decision to make a formal apology one of its first priorities.

“We hope this gesture will be a symbolic end to the tragic legacy of horrific treatment of Aboriginal children, and the first step towards addressing the serious human rights violations Indigenous Australians face every day," said Rodney Dillon, Campaign Coordinator for Amnesty International's Australian Section.

“An apology will help develop respect and establish meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and is essential to reconciliation.

“We are calling on the Australian Government to now implement the recommendations in the Bringing Them Home report. Restitution, rehabilitation, guarantees against repetition and compensation are critical next steps.”

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s (HREOC) outlined 54 recommendations in the 1997 Bringing Them Home report, as a result of its enquiry into the removal of Indigenous children from their families. It found between 1 and 3 in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from between 1910 and 1970. Many were sexually, physically and mentally abused.

The report’s recommendations are supported by international law, which provides that, where a person’s human rights have been violated, they must have access to an "effective remedy".

Amnesty International staff and activists this week took part in commemorations around the country in solidarity with all Indigenous Australians.

Country

Australia 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

Issue

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 
Indigenous peoples 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

19 December 2014

A flurry of activity by UN member states to sign and ratify the global Arms Trade Treaty before it enters into force next week is another clear sign of the overwhelming... Read more »

18 December 2014

The rights of migrants are being trampled across the globe as they face economic exploitation, discrimination and racism in a range of countries.

Read more »
22 December 2014

Pakistan's reported plans to execute 500 more people are “deeply disturbing” and would do nothing to protect civilians from the conflict with the Taliban.

Read more »
24 December 2014

Pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine in a move which will exacerbate a pending humanitarian crisis in the run up to... Read more »

23 December 2014

Torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, suffered by women and girls from Iraq’s Yezidi minority who were abducted by the armed group calling itself the... Read more »