The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has carried the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Speaking at the 38th regular session, Commissioner Oscar told delegates about the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
“Since February this year, I have been travelling across Australia to hear directly from Indigenous women and girls about their strengths, challenges and aspirations for change.
“I have listened to women who tell me that it seems like a crime to be an Indigenous person in Australia. I have listened to the stories behind the sky-rocketing numbers of Indigenous children in out-of-home care. I have met the faces behind the unacceptable statistics that speak to the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in prison and in rates of family and domestic violence.
“The women I meet are strong and resilient. They tell me they want to have a say in decisions that affect their lives. But they also tell me that their voices are still not being heard about their ideas for solutions.
“I urge the Australian Government to listen to the voices of Indigenous women. We must also open our eyes to the fact that inter-generational trauma and structural racism are driving factors for Indigenous incarceration rates, the removal of Indigenous children and violence against Indigenous women,” Commissioner Oscar said.
When Australia sought membership of the United National Human Rights Council it committed to advancing the human rights of Indigenous peoples.
Speaking at the 38th session in Geneva, Commissioner Oscar encouraged the Australian Government to show leadership within the Council by seriously considering the recommendations made in the Special Rapporteur’s report, committing to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Australia, and supporting constitutional reform, to deliver on the aspirations of Indigenous people for self-determination and freedom from discrimination.
For more information about the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project visit https://wiyiyaniuthangani.humanrights.gov.au/