RNA - UN special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has been on a 15-day visit at Canberra’s invitation to check on the progress made since the last such trip in 2009.
She said she found racism against the indigenous population widespread.
“As I have travelled across the country, I have found the prevalence of racism against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples deeply disturbing,” she said.
“This manifests itself in different ways, ranging from public stereotyped portrayals of them as violent criminals, welfare profiteers, and poor parents to discrimination in the administration of justice.”
During her tour, Tauli-Corpuz examined the measures aimed at reducing indigenous disadvantage, jail conditions, land rights issues, and violence against women.
In February, an annual government report entitled “Closing the Gap” found that Australia was failing in its efforts to improve Aboriginal lives, with targets — including cutting child mortality and raising life expectancy — not being met.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted at the time that not enough progress had been made and committed more money to improve research and evaluate policies to improve the situation.
The UN rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples said in a statement that there was a lack of government consultation with indigenous bodies working to support their own communities in public health, housing, education, and child protection.
She said the national representative body for the indigenous population — the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples — was “dismally disregarded by the government.”
Tauli-Corpuz said indigenous organizations “remain unfunded or have had funding radically cut” and urged Canberra to do more.
She highlighted the escalating rates of youth suicide, and denounced as “simply astounding” the high levels of indigenous incarceration.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up 27 percent of Australia’s prison population, despite accounting for just three percent of the total 24-million population.