Feb 24, 2010 1:19 PM by Associated Press

UN: Aboriginal program violates human rights

A U.N. official says an Australian program imposing restrictions on Aborigines is inherently racist, breaches international human rights obligations and must be changed immediately.

The initiative, known as "the intervention," includes bans on alcohol and hard-core pornography and restrictions on how welfare checks can be spent in response to an investigation that found rampant child sex abuse in remote indigenous communities. The government had to suspend its own anti-discrimination law to put in place the restrictions that only apply to Aborigines.

In an advanced copy of a report to be released next week, the U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous human rights says the measures "specifically target indigenous people and impair certain rights and freedoms."

James Anaya adds there's no proof any of the measures have actually improved the lives of Aborigines.

Australia will have a chance to formally respond to the report when it's presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in September.


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