Amendments to the Native Title Act and protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' human rights were sought by Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tom Calma last Thursday.
Calma called for changes to the Native Title Act to provide a presumption of continuity of ownership by Indigenous claimants. He also argued that a national Human Rights Act should be passed that includes specific protection of Indigenous rights.
"The Constitution should be amended to recognise Indigenous peoples in the preamble, and its discriminatory provisions should be removed and replaced with a guarantee of equal treatment and non-discrimination," he said.
The report into native title also analysed the threat climate change posed to Indigenous people - not only in terms of the land and resources, but also in respect of maintaining traditional life and languages, said Calma.
"Our communities require specific support to put in place measures to adapt to climate change but we also have new opportunities, mainly through our traditional knowledge, to participate in emerging carbon markets and further mitigation efforts," he said.
Calma added that a credible national Indigenous representative body should be established and a framework developed to guide negotiations in addressing the unfinished business of reconciliation.
These findings were made in the Social Justice Report 2008 and the Native Title Report 2008.
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