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

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.

Gandhi's grandson, Khudai Khidmatgar chief among advisers to US Hindu rights group

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a US-wide advocacy organization claiming to be committed to the "ideals of multi-religious pluralism in the United States, India and beyond", advocate peace, justice and human rights of all communities from a Hindu perspective, has declared it has appointed a group of advisors, including Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi.