***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
04 December 2023 (Australia)
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is today calling on members of the Australian Government to support a Bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This call follows the final report from the Inquiry into the implementation of UNDRIP in Australia, where a lack of legal framework has led to woeful inaction by government at all levels.
AFSA has long advocated for the Australian Government to fully adopt the UNDRIP, and supports the Bill to legislate the Declaration, so that First Peoples’ sovereignty is recognised and protected under current law, as well as create a national action plan for its implementation. In 2022, AFSA provided a submission to the Inquiry that provides key examples of how the government has failed to recognise First Peoples’ sovereignty through UNDRIP.
Article 26 of UNDRIP states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.” It directs states to give legal recognition to these territories. First Peoples’ rights have not been upheld in cases where they have been barred from accessing their traditional lands and marine and terrestrial waters for sustenance and livelihood, such as in the case of Yuin Peoples’ ongoing battles to dive for abalone on the south coast of NSW.
“The criminalisation of First Peoples’ access to Country continues the long history of violence and oppression they have endured under colonial rule,” says AFSA President, Tammi Jonas.
AFSA recently updated the Peoples’ Food Plan, which includes a chapter on the issues facing First Peoples and recommendations on how to support self-determination and achieve just relations between settlers and First Peoples, with a strong focus on the importance of implementing UNDRIP to protect First Peoples’ sovereignty and their traditional knowledges and genetic resources, as well as promoting land back.
Given the recent failure of the referendum to pass a Voice to Parliament, AFSA believes the Government should move to implement UNDRIP to demonstrate its commitment to addressing systemic injustices experienced by First Peoples. The current Bill to be discussed on 6 December offers three key responsibilities to implement UNDRIP in Australia:
- Take measures to ensure consistency between Commonwealth law and UNDRIP;
- Prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP; and
- Mandate that the Prime Minister must, each financial year, present a report to each House of the Parliament on the progress of those actions.
“The UNDRIP should be implemented as a legally binding framework that enables Australia to collaborate with First Peoples on a national action plan that fully recognises and promotes First Peoples’ sovereignty,” says Jonas.
“In the global food sovereignty movement, UNDRIP is a core demand of peasant farmers and Indigenous Peoples to move towards social, ecological and political justice and we believe it’s time that Australia does the same,” adds Jonas.
Contact: For AFSA enquiries: Jessie Power, AFSA General Coordinator
m: 0403 795 670
For media enquiries: Tammi Jonas, AFSA President
m: 0422 429 362
About the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA)
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) is a farmer-led civil society organisation of people working together towards socially-just and ecologically-sound food and agriculture systems that foster the democratic participation of First Peoples, smallholders, and local communities in decision making processes. Website: afsa.org.au