The human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the focus of a new website which aims to improve access to information and strengthen engagement with the human rights framework.
Launched today, the Indigenous Human Rights Network Australia (IHRNA) will bring together human rights advocates in an extensive network that will provide information - such as international human rights treaties - and allow practitioners to share advice and best practice tips.
"IHRNA fills a void for those in the community who are working away persistently, and often on their own, to ensure that the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are given the prominence they deserve in the development of laws, programs and policies in Australia," said Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, in a statement released today.
Through the network, members will be able to contact experts or make connections with mentors and other human rights advocates.
"We've just had the anniversary of the Federal Government's formal support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and I can't think of a better way to help people bring the Declaration alive, and give it real application, than by enabling them to jump on a website and get the information they need," added Gooda.
IHRNA was developed following research undertaken in 2007 which revealed strong support for the establishment of a tool to facilitate and strengthen the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the human rights process.
Hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, funded by Oxfam Australia and supported by the University of New South Wales' Diplomacy Training Program, IHRNA is considered to be an important step in improving the human rights of indigenous people in Australia.
"We are excited to see this network come to life and hope it will be a key tool that indigenous advocates can use to stay connected with each other to better advocate on issues in their communities," said Karina Menkhorst, manager of Oxfam Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program.