Skip to main content

Suspend Adani coalmine project till natives are consulted: Australia's UN envoy told

Counterview Desk
Noureddine Amir, chair, United Nations Committee (UN) on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in a letter to Sally Mansfield, Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN Office, Geneva, has said that, on receiving a complaint from the indigenous people of Queensland province of Australia, it is “concerned” about their land rights, pointing out that the Adani coalmine project in Carmichael and the rail project attached with would displace them.
Seeking to ensure the natives’ “right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent regarding the Carmichael coalmine and rail project”, the top UN official asks the Australia’s UN representative in the letter, which was sent last month, to “consider” suspending the Adani project till they are duly consulted in accordance with the set procedure.

Text of Amir’s letter:

I would like to inform you that in the course of its 97th Session, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered information received related to the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project in Queensland, Australia, and its impact on the Wangan and Jagalingou indigenous people.
The information received indicates that the Wangan and Jagalingou people have registered native title claim under the Native Title Act 1993 (Native Title Act), which constitutes the recognition of the traditional rights and interests in their ancestral lands. In this regard, the 2017 Federal Court decision McGlade v Native Title Tribunal confirmed that agreements with indigenous peoples on the use of their lands, namely Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs), require the signatures of all members of the registered native title claimants.
The Committee is concerned about the allegations that the consultation on the ILUA for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project might not have been conducted in good faith, notably by not including all the members of the Wangan and Jagalingou native title claim group. The Committee is further concerned about the allegations that the development of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project on the ancestral lands of the Wangan and Jagalingou people does not enjoy the free, prior and informed consent of all their representatives.
Noureddine Amir
The Committee is also concerned that ILUAs could lead to the extinction of indigenous peoples’ land titles. In this regard, the Committee is particularly concerned by the adoption of the Native Title Amendment in 2017, introduced by the government in Parliament, recognizing the validity of ILUAs even when these agreements are not signed by all native title claimants, which appears to be in contradiction with the decision of the Federal Court mentioned above.
Accordingly, the Committee is concerned that, if the above allegations are corroborated, the realization of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project would infringe the rights of the Wangan and Jagalingou people’ rights that are protected under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Therefore, the Committee requests the State party to provide information on the steps taken to:
  1. Ensure the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent regarding the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, in accordance with indigenous peoples’ own decision-making mechanisms; 
  2. Consider suspending the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project until free, prior and informed consent is obtained from all indigenous peoples, including the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult. 
In this regard, the Committee encourages the State party to consider engaging with the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) that is mandated by the Human Rights Council (resolution 33/25, paragraph 2), to provide States with technical advice on the rights of indigenous peoples and facilitate dialogue between States, indigenous peoples and/or the private sector.
In accordance with article 9 (1) of the Convention and article 65 of its Rules of Procedure, the Committee requests the State party to submit its response before 8 April 2019.
Allow me, Excellency, to reiterate the wish of the Committee to continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Government of Australia, with a view to ensuring the effective implementation of the Convention.

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.