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

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Plebiscite in J&K? Delhi meet demands implementation of UN 'commitment'

Counterview Desk
A citizens’ protest, organised on October 19 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, to protest against the 75 days of “oppression” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) saw over 200 activists, academics, intellectuals, prominent citizens, students, citizens from a large number of groups controversially appeared to suggest holding plebiscite in order to decide the future of the state.

Without tribal consent? 1,000 of 1,700 acres 'acquired' off Statue of Unity, Narmada dam

By Our Representative 
The Gujarat government has already acquired 1,100 acres out of 1,700 acres of the tribal land of six villages – Navagam, Limdi, Gora, Vagadia, Kevadia and Mithi – for developing tourism next to the 182-metre high Statue of Unity, the world's tallest, putting at risk the livelihood option of their 8,000 residents, and is all set to acquire rest of the land, representatives of the villagers have alleged in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…